Maybe It was Hypocritical of Me to Finish College

    I was hesitant to go to college at first. It’s a lot of money for a piece of paper.  diplomaAs Will Hunting would say, “you dropped a hundred and fifty grand on an education you coulda’ picked up for a dollar fifty in late charges at the Public Library.” For a while it seemed to me that trusting in pieces of paper was a lack of faith on my part; not trusting in God’s provision for me.  Eventually I came to the conclusion that I had been afforded the opportunity to go to college, an opportunity the majority of the world could only dream of. In this world a degree would give me the opportunity to play a role that could have a positive impact on a great many people, and so I decided to go to college.

Once at college though, I continued to question the value of a college degree, not just for myself, but for others too. It seemed like there where a lot of women that were at college in hopes of meeting the man of their dreams and then becoming homemakers for the rest of their lives (Honestly, this was probably more the stereotype then it was a reality). I think being a homemaker is a wonderful decision, but it does make me question the spending of thousands of dollars for a piece of paper. I’m not saying folks shouldn’t learn and educate themselves, but you could easily audit all the classes for pennies in comparison. I was already questioning the paper, and so it was easy for me to point the finger at folk’s getting bachelors and masters without any real desire to utilize that resource.

And then there is me.  I don’t really need the degree that I have. No doubt the education has been valuable, and I’ve probably had more job opportunity and security because of it, but I still question it.  I’m also at a place now where I never plan on moving up any sort of corporate ladder, or play any role where a degree will give me some kind of upper hand. From now on the value of all that money to pay for this expensive piece of paper will be to bolster my own pride and ego whenever I have the opportunity to say that I’m a college graduate (Wheaton College).

I can’t help but acknowledge the evidence that my choice to go to college has benefited me primarily in being more dependent on my own security rather then God, and also to bolster my own ego. That sure sounds like a hypocrite.

7 thoughts on “Maybe It was Hypocritical of Me to Finish College”

  1. I don’t think it’s hypocritical for you to have finished college. The problem arises if you allow this to be your source of security and a prop for your ego.

    Your college degree does now give you more opportunity to reach people. You may not be planning to take a role that requires your degree, but God may have other plans.

    You’ve also gotten the education that helps you reach people through your writing and other work (some of probably was not an official part of your education, but writing papers at a college level gives you skills that are rarely found elsewhere).

    But all of this side-steps the issue of whether a college degree encourages you to trust in a piece of paper rather than God’s provisions. My answer is that it doesn’t matter. Your trust is based on your relationship with God. If you tended to trust in qualifications rather than God, then even without the degree, you would be trusting in other things (like your performance record or years of experience). What is needed (and is easier said than done) is to trust in God to lead you to and through whatever learning and qualifications He wants for you with the knowledge that he is doing this for His Kingdom. God uses both unlearned fishermen (like Peter) as well as educated noblemen (like Daniel), our place is as servants to trust that God will equip and use as according to His will.

  2. one of the main things college did for me was allow me to obtain a job that allowed me to pay off my student loans.

    yeah, i know.

  3. I think that learning in a community is different than learning from a book and that is one reason that I value the college experience. But when I went to college, I never imagined that I would want to be a stay at home mom. Now I’m paying a huge amount in loan payments for an education that I’m not getting anything out of financially. Read Ann Crittenden’s The Price of Motherhood. A college educated woman loses 1 million dollars in earning power just by becoming a mom. That pretty much negates any extra that a woman would have made by getting the education and puts her in the hole whatever she paid for the education. The single largest risk factor for poverty in old age is motherhood.

    Becoming a stay at home mom made me realize how almost my entire self image hinged on what I achieved rather than who I am in God’s sight. It was the single most difficult adjustment that I have had to make in my life and I am just now coming to terms with it after almost four years as a full time mom.

  4. Nothing to add really, just wanted to give a ((HUG)) to you, Ariah, and say GREAT comments to the others. I think Richard pretty much covered everything I was thinking. 🙂

  5. good points, ariah. i have thought some of the same things.

    when i left for college my dad gave me one peice of advice. he told me to study, but not to spend all my time studying. he told me that college was about more than learning from your text books. he told me that college was in a large part, about the experinces i would have. he encouraged me to get out of the classroom and into college life.

    years later, i think he was right. i took college more seriously than i did high school. i made better grades than high school, but i still never earned that 4.0. however, i had many, many experinces that shaped who i am today. i joined clubs and oganizations, i talked to many different people with different viewpoints, i visited different churches, traveled to different places, etc. there are a few things that i learned in classes that still impact me today. but most of what i gained from college is from the experiences i had there, outside of the class room.

    one could argue “then why even bother going to college?” well, i believe the unique situation that college provides is not available anywhere else. in my everyday life after college, i am not expose to nearly the number of people let alone different people that i was exposed to in such a small area and short time. i was also exposed to different thoughts and lifestyles (by living in the dorms for 4 years) that i have never experienced in “the real world”.

    i could write a book about this, but i will not. i will just sum it up by saying that i believe it is the college experience as a whole that really impacts someone, not just the piece of paper.

  6. OK so you are going to think this is funny. Jeff’s (my boyfriend) writing proficiency exam question (every student at the University of Montana has to pass this writing exam to graduate) was “Why College is a Waste of Time and Money.” Well, of course Jeff wrote about why it is a waste of time and money and he passed!! I do think (don’t tell him I said this) that he passed only because of the subject. Just so you know, my topic was on “Hard Science,” I can’t even remember what that is…….

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