Why did we come to college anyway?
If you had to define the quintessential American college, how would you do it? Well, according to Professor Andrew Delbanco, this very idea has morphed quite a bit over the decades, and is expected to for years to come.
As Jeremy Budd reported in today’s paper, a book by Delbanco on the purpose and future of college inspired a panel discussion last night with several prominent professors and students. Interestingly, in Delbanco’s view, the “idea of college as a place for reflection, a place where you can take a breath—that’s not happening very much anymore.” Then what is it?
The panelists came up with stuff like liberal arts, class sizes, globalization, democratic principles—read the article for the full low-down. But I think it’s worth it for us, as students, to really give some thought as to what we want out of college, and what we should expect. Sure, maybe not all of us eat and breathe the Core like this guy does. Our ideas of what college is will probably look a little different than these dudes’, but we’re the ones actually in school right now, so our perspective is just as important.
Here’s my own list of what I think is inseparable from the college experience:
- Developing critical thinking skills (writing a bazillion papers / problem sets)
- Getting a taste of what research is like via your thesis, senior seminars, or working in a lab
- Becoming a leader—student groups, for instance, help you find your niche
- Broadening your perspective through a diverse student body
- Forming close relationships
- And don’t forget—getting down!
This list is definitely not exhaustive, so feel free to leave a note in the comments yelling at me for leaving sports off the list or something of that nature!
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