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College Education: Step to Social Consciousness 

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    My whole life I have heard it is said if I got accepted by any university, and obtained a diploma, I would have everything to be living a successful life. But successful college experience as promised is not just enrolling, graduating and getting a diploma. Unless I am mentally and financially at a stage I desire to be, the goal of my education has failed. I have seen many privileged people such as political leaders who don’t know how to behave themselves, although they graduated from very high rated universities around the world. They have knowledge of practical jobs, not education. The real education offered by universities, colleges, and community colleges is important in order to be tolerant of diverse cultures, and to learn to think critically about political and social issues. In particular, community colleges, which are frequently overlooked but priceless, guarantee accessible and affordable futures.

    The United States of America receives flows of migrations from various cultures, religions, and different opinions that accompany with them. However, sometimes immigrants have been objects of the reprimand because of these differences. Many people try to enlighten others in the matter of being immigrant and how to be treated. In the book, They Say / I Say, Steve Kolowich, for one, in his essay, “On the Front Lines of a New Culture War,” discusses in many particular ways about how to behave to immigrants. He states, “… but the Somali refugees at St. Cloud State University had lived in the United States for long enough to know how this worked: Any act of violence by foreign-born Muslim could reignite fears of immigration and terrorism, and there was no place more flammable than St. Cloud, Minn” (398-399). He describes that a refugee from Somalia, who had hit six people and stabbed five more people on Ohio State University, makes every single Somali refugee to live uncomfortable, unbearable life under strong pressure. They were unfairly connected to a crime which happened 800 miles away. Another terror attack happened in St. Cloud State, and all white Americans knew whom to point to as unfairly responsible. The author writes, “They are part of a generation of refugees who are trying to do what immigrants in the United States have done for years: get educated, expand their horizons and build a better lives for themselves while also staying connected to the culture that sustained their elders through the traumas of war and dislocation” (401). In other words, young immigrants try to be American, they watch football as an American, “they laugh at impersonations of Homer Simpson and Arnold Schwarzenegger” (400) as Americans do. They simply go to college or university to get a diploma “to avoid the powerlessness of life in the nonwhite working class” (401). Moreover, threatening others cannot be acceptable, especially in politics. Kolowich, with deep sorrow, describes a speech that made some people really scared, given by the president:

    “Everybody’s reading about the disaster taking place in Minnesota,” Mr. Trump had told the crowd, referring to the Somali refugees. “Everybody’s reading about it. You don’t even have the right to talk about it. … You don’t even know who’s coming in – you have no idea. You’ll find out.” (406)

    It really does not matter what background you have, which universities you graduated from, or how much wealth and power you have. If you don’t know that you cannot disrespect to others, you are uneducated. For me, someone with a habit of threatening people, cannot prevail. How to treat those Somalian-Muslim refugees, and all immigrants, is one of the tasks that colleges undertake. Obviously, some people get killed by a refugee, but why do we seek revenge on the other refugees who have come from the same country but have no connection to the person who committed the crime? Is it obviously not explicit bias? It’s important to learn how to embrace other cultures and ethnicities. In order to show importance of college education, Steve writes, “It also means preparing white kids from Minnesota to navigate a diverse world with grace and empathy” (403). I would love to highlight words of “grace” and “empathy” since the very first job of schools and universities is to teach the student to be empathic to others. It teaches students that if an American had committed a crime, like murder, we would have not blamed all Americans and assumed they were all murderers. It is biased that when a so-called “Muslim” makes a terror attacks, all Muslim and their religion are to blame, and when anybody else makes similar disaster, only he/she is responsible. University provides a platform where we are taught not to believe rumors. Because we are educated to be tolerant and to listen to reasonable pleas. Steve notes the golden words of Ashish Vaidya, St. Cloud State’s interim president, “If, at the end of their educational experience at St. Cloud State, they emerge without knowing very well how to engage in a diverse and multicultural environment,” says the president, “we have failed” (403). After all, I prefer being more open-minded to other different cultures and religions over being wealthy and having lavish lifestyle. It is undeniable that colleges are irreplaceable in combating racism. The earlier we are given the seeds of education, the better humans we will grow to be.

    Everybody must realize that they must grab a seat in the class of either universities or community colleges. For these institutions prepare human beings for upcoming life realities, give clues for how to deal with these realities, as well as the education they need for their jobs. Some people do not have enough information about community colleges and liberal arts, and they undervalue them. Community Colleges are the gateway to promoting diversity and multiculturalism. Liz Addison explains those kinds of opinions and elucidates them in her “Two Years Are Better Than Four.” She writes, “‘College as America used to understand it is coming to an end,’ bemoans Rick Perlstein” (365). Mr. Perlstein, being selfish and on behalf of those who undervalue the existence of colleges, must come to understand that, as Addison says, “the college experience of self-discovery does still matter to those who get there.” (366). It is undoubtedly not hard to accept that not only universities, but all higher-level educational institutions, can teach their students how to interact with life, its hardships, and what comes with it.

    As human beings, we all are curious about learning new stuff, like a new language, or playing guitar, or coding. Once I read that 70% of learning a new language is to take a pen and blank paper, which means to start. But where to start is a question we bump into frequently. Well, community colleges are the answer. Addison writes, “The philosophy of the community college is one that unconditionally allows its student to begin. Just begin” (366). We don’t need to know how difficult what we are about to start is, because realizing that “everything is possible” (366) leads us to succeed. These beliefs are made in community colleges and they never get old. What community colleges give us is not dreamful thoughts, but their educations make us “worldly, insightful, cultured, mature”. (367) As an American, as a future leader, we should have comprehensive understanding of academic English that runs the world entirely, psychology, and how people manage their opinions and how they feel and think, and some math, biology, physics, and chemistry. Necessarily, literacy of first-class subjects and treating the others is, indeed, the first step to the reality. Efforts of community colleges and liberal arts are appreciated since their alumni can change the world. Maybe this era is for the technology, but the time of appreciation of words and behavior will definitely come. Even now thousands of people, the bulks of whose have bachelor diploma of high-level universities, spend large amount of sum going seminars about how to be leader and how to ease the thoughts disturbing them. I would love to tell them, at least, to have a glance at community colleges, that is affordable and easy to start with “just one placement test”. (367) For the students who lack the support of university or have trouble to choose who they want to be, community colleges are uniquely great. Addison states, “The community colleges of America cover this country college by college and community by community. They offer a network of affordable future, of accessible hope and an option to dream.” (367-368)

    Therefore, education, being a foundation of the future for everyone, is unquestionably important. Living in the United Stated, a country that is incredibly diverse, we have neighbors of various background. In order to be respectful to our neighbors, to ourselves, and those who dedicated their lives for keeping America together, we must urgently support education. Through this, we fight against racism and illiteracy.

    Works Cited

    1. Kolowich, Steve. “On the Front Lines of a New Culture War.” They Say / I say, 4th edition, edited by Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein, Russel Durst, W.W. Norton & Company Inc., 2018, pp. 318-419.
    2. Addison, Liz. “Two Years Are Better Than Four.” They Say / I say, 4th edition, edited by Gerald Graff, Cathy Birkenstein, Russel Durst, W.W. Norton & Company Inc., 2018, pp. 365-368

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    College Education: Step to Social Consciousness . (2021, Nov 29). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/college-education-step-to-social-consciousness/

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