“If you want to achieve something, you build the basis for it.”
– Noam Chomsky
One look at a job board – on Craigslist, for instance – and one notices how most jobs list as one of their requirements a college degree. Many often frown at how a college education is so crucial for obtaining a job. I mean, don’t we learn by doing? Can’t we teach ourselves? What is job training for? Especially as it is a known fact that even with a college degree there is still the challenge of securing employment, given the competitive economy we live in.
We cannot forget that the immediate necessity to improve the conditions of existence is the focus for many. For some, embracing learning is not an issue, acquiring a college education wouldn’t be, but surviving is. How can a person delve in learning if he or she needs to find now a way to feed the family? Yet, as I acknowledge this I also acknowledge that one thing I am extremely grateful for is having had the opportunity of going to college. I was raised by parents whose focus was the family and who with that focus embraced education and motivated everyone in the household – including themselves – to learn as much as possible; to learn on one’s own and to also seek other outlets for diverse and continuous learning.
I remember how happy I was when I received the letter that I had been accepted to the University of Puerto Rico. Not only was I looking forward to studying what I wanted then but I also welcomed the experience of being in a college environment. I associated it with both guidance and freedom.
When I obtained that undergraduate degree, I took it upon myself to seek employment on the field I studied. I wanted to do it on my own. It was not an easy task and it still isn’t. And that task has actually taken me in countless directions, quite different from the stability I thought I would obtain with that degree.
Yet that college education did direct and strengthen me in so many ways. It did not satiate my curiosity, but fueled my desire to learn. It empowered me – among many things – to think, question, and see beyond the obvious.
Would I be who I am now if I had not gone to college? Where would I be? What would I be doing? Would I be writing something different to this? The answer is “I don’t know”. What I do know is that the experience of college and everything that I gained from it was a solid basis from where to build from and with.
”Some of you have names now, some of you haven’t.
But tomorrow all will have names that shall be kept by you and your descendants forever.
In the morning, as the first light of day shows in the sky, come to my lodge and choose your names.
The first to come may choose any name that he or she wants.
The next person may take any other name.
That is the way it will go until all the names are taken.”