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USA essay 4

( 2017-03-30 )

 

     To find a single, definite purpose for higher education is like finding a purpose for government or religion: it is a product of society and has played a significant role all around the world for the better part of history. When people are asked about this role, several answers given may be considered as “correct”. To find all possible reasons for the existence of higher education, one must be able to consider the perspectives of different people—the cynical, the ambitious, the intellectual, the altruistic, and so on—as well as peer into the bigger picture of how such complex social systems have developed.

 I recall, in my single-digit years, my grandmother telling me in mandarin as I sat playing with my die-cast cars, “You’re going to attend Harvard, get a well-paying job, and earn a good life for yourself”. Among Chinese Americans and quite possibly those back in the old country, the name of that certain higher education institution is thrown around quite often; it represents a pathway towards a good future through the obtainment of sufficient knowledge to land a well-paying career. The prestige of entering an Ivy League school is sought by many ambitious students; it goes hand-in-hand for the want of a high-salary job as a doctor or lawyer. Thus, to many individuals, the first thought of higher education that comes to mind is the possibility of a good future. Many would often say that the purpose of higher education to them would be to fulfill their long-term goal of having enough money to support their family, or perhaps use that hard-earned money to live life as happily as they can under either financial prosperity or adequacy. Another purpose for some wishing to enter higher education is the pursuit of knowledge and passion, hoping that such institutions may give them the freedom of finding a future in doing what they enjoy.

 While those purposes are what make higher education a viable institution of society by attracting sufficient students into the professional workforce, the role of higher education in the grand scheme of society may be seen as conduit to a multitude of roles to help society survive and progress: the many careers people seek through a university education feed the many facets of society that keep it running and advancing. For example, those seeking education to obtain a stable career as an engineer are both contributing to the upkeep of infrastructure and the advancement of technology. Those wanting medical education may find themselves increasing the survivability of humanity. Those studying in institutions specializing in law or politics may become the guardians of justice and societal order.

 While my grandmother never told me to attend Harvard to make the world a better place, she inadvertently played a role in the maintenance and betterment of society. Regardless of any single purpose, higher education is a facilitator in a symbiotic relationship between the individual and the human race.


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