The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Degrees are worth more than just paper

Wisconsin’s governor, Scott Walker, is one of the many Republicans considering a run for the White House next year. He stands out, however, thanks to a simple thing: he doesn’t have a college degree.

This fact has raised a lot of questions about whether he should be running for the presidency or not.

As a college student, I believe a college degree is indeed the best way to achieve what you want.

My parents always made sure that I had access to the best education possible. And grown-ups are usually the ones who know best.

“To me, education is priceless whether you can make a million dollars with it or not,” said CCE junior Angela Russell. “I think education is a good investment.”

CCE students are the perfect example of how much impact a college degree can have.

“Why wouldn’t you want to go to school and learn about something that you don’t know and expand on that?” said CCE senior Phil Gordon.

Going back to college is more than just having a piece of paper at the end of four years.

“By coming to college, you have that opportunity to seek … what it is you’re truly meant to do,” said Student Success Counselor Nicole Arnold ’11. “It’s really about finding that passion.

According to U.S. News, a study published in 2011 by the Georgetown University Center for Education and the Workforce states that individuals with a bachelor’s degree in any field earn an average of $2.27 million in a lifetime, while those with only a high school diploma earn an average of $1.30 million.

“In an economy that’s changing as quickly as ours is, job security is huge,” said Assistant Dean of Career & Community Learning Alan Mueller. “It’s not guaranteed, but a college degree helps with job security.”

And it is not any kind of job that can hire someone based only on a high school diploma.

“If you have a passion to be a doctor or go into any kind of biology, any science, you’ve got to have a degree,” said Career Development Counselor Teresa Fitzgerald ’09. “It can help point you in that direction and open doors for you that otherwise would not have been opened.”

Going to college is not only great intellectually, but it is also the best place for people to find themselves.

Emma Watson, who played Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter movies for over a decade, decided she wanted to have a college degree even though she is already settled in her acting career.

“I think (the college experience) is a great time to figure out who you are and what you like,” said Watson in an interview with the New York Daily News.

This experience can make all the difference when going out there to face the real world.

“When it comes to the value of a college degree, it’s an inside and outside of the classroom thing,” said Career Development Assistant Director Amanda Fontenot. “Having that roommate experience (and) living and working with people that are not like you at all create a person that not only is knowledgeable about their field, but also has been exposed to different things.”

On the other hand, not having a college degree does not mean you will not be successful or happy in your occupation.

Brazil’s former president Luis Inácio “Lula” da Silva has had little education. He did not learn how to read until he was 10 and does not even have a high school diploma.

As a Brazilian myself, I do not agree with Lula’s politics and despise him for all the corruption scandals he and his party have been involved with. But, I must admit he is a great speaker and is smart enough to convince a whole country that he has got the solution to their problems.

“You don’t necessarily need to be in college to be successful,” said senior Anne Bell. “I’m really thankful for my opportunity to have a degree, but it’s not a degree that is going to define me after I graduate.”

Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder of Spotify Daniel Ek and the co-founder and former Apple CEO Steve Jobs are all examples of college dropouts who became millionaires and did not need a degree to do so.

However, I still believe that a degree is our best shot nowadays.

Zuckerberg, Ek, Jobs and Lula all had to get some education at some point in life. Walker dropped out of college in his senior year; he was educated enough already.

This is not about becoming a smarty-pants.

“It’s about learning how to critically think,” said Mueller. “My grandmother used to say ‘Go to college because nobody can ever take your education away from you,’ and this is powerful.”

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About the Contributor
Beatriz Caldas, Editor-in-Chief
Senior Beatriz's goal is to make sure that every person on campus has a voice, that every group is being represented, and that The Guilfordian becomes #1 in reporting Social Justice stories not only from Guilford, but from all around the globe. Beatriz comes from Brazil and is able to speak four languages.

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