Heavy is the cloak of tension. Thick is the cloud of fear. The cries of many have a common theme – economic instability. In the desperate fight for survival, many turn to deities and work out theories. Parents who feel the regret of past failures and negligence heap upon their children both pressure and responsibilities, implanting their minds with ideas they assume will make their children successful. One of such ideas is the compulsion to go through college or possess a college degree then get a good-paying job and live a fulfilling life. To many parents, this chain is an unbreakable one for they assume one cannot achieve one without the other. To live a fulfilling life, one must have a good-paying job and to get a good-paying job, one must go through college and possess in one’s treasury the ‘ultimate’ college degree. So strong is this theory in the minds of many that they fail to behold the numerous examples of successful men and women who don’t possess college degree. One outstanding but seemingly hidden example is the current richest man in the world, Bill Gates. Many know nothing about this man except that he is a college dropout. Whatever one’s definition of success may be, one cannot argue that Bill Gates is a success in his field. Though he holds a degree presently, he earned the place of prominence before the degree. Forbes magazine hails him as having sat in the position of richest man in the world for thirteen consecutive years. That is a feat worthy of applause and should be pondered upon. It is arguable then, that for Bill Gates, college education isn’t so necessary.
Delving deeper into the world’s situation and the relevance of college education, certain questions need be asked and shocking observations taken into consideration. The question, how necessary is a college education for me, must first be understood in whatever context it stands. How necessary is a college education for me in what sense? Is it in being a good child? Or in learning how to speak and write? Or is it in being successful? I choose to believe that the question relates to being successful. Therefore, to make the question more specific, how necessary is a college education for me in my pursuit of success? This poses another question. What is success? The word ‘success’ is personal for while Nicholas considers himself successful because he is a doctor, Charles considers himself a total failure because he is a doctor though he wishes to be a lawyer. An agreeable definition of success would be the attainment of one’s goals and aspirations. If one chooses to be a musician but ends up becoming a banker because of external pressure, one doesn’t see oneself as being successful. But if one becomes the musician one wishes to be, one feels contented. A shocking observation lies in the fact that success is not determined by wealth except if being wealthy was a previously set goal.
To be a world renowned pianist, speaker, writer, minister and financially independent businessman is what I aspire. So far, some dance to the melody I create while pounding the black and white keys of the piano. I earn salaries and increase in fame as different churches ask for the privilege of my presence in their services. Pianists have marveled at my dexterity and musical illiterates have sang my praises. Reflecting on these, I trace the history of my piano skills and I found not college education in any archive of my mind. I didn’t need college education for the foundation of my piano knowledge. Wouldn’t it be unfair to assume that I’ll need it for the roofing? Practice has always been the only route to perfection not mastering theories – something school is expertized in. What is the use of practicing without knowledge of theories, one may ask sarcastically. Such a question can be turned the other way round. What is the use of having theories without practice? It is much better to practice without having knowledge of theories than possessing theories in the head but not practicing. For while the former practices, he stumbles upon the theories during practice and learns them but the latter just possess theories in the head and revels in the vain glory of being known as a brilliant student.
What about business? One needs to go through college to run an effective business, don’t you think? Aliko Dangote, the richest man in Africa studied business in Cairo, Egypt. Nevertheless, that holds no water. Strategies for running an effective business are learned in business and not in schools. Alas, many have found out that most of the ideas taught in colleges are outdated and not relevant in winning in life. Life rewards those who have ambitions and doggedly pursue them not those who scored highest in tests and exams. Life smiles at creativity and emitting what one has learned in class in the exam hall isn’t creative.
My aim is not to diminish the relevance of college education but to emphasize on the deeper things life entails. Education basically means the enlightenment of the mind. As long as one has learned how to read and write, which one has learned in high school, one has in hand the skill with which to navigate through life. Men that have gone ahead have written books and wisdom can be drawn from the experiences of these men. Imagine if Dangote operated only with the education he got from college. He would have run out of ideas. Four or five years of college education are not enough for a lifetime of efficient and profitable business.
As I intently pursue my ambitions, I study and I practice. Continually, I update the database of my mind. In reading, I improve my vocabulary and use of words, hence, I become a better writer and speaker. In studying, I learn the same theories and more taught in colleges and in practicing them, I get closer to perfection. Conclusion? College education is not a means to an end but an added advantage, an advantage that can be derived through other means.
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