First Draft of Entry Prompt

Carla Champagne

Eng 110

Many people view higher education, such as college, as a time for exploration, excitement and enrichment. However, the end result of higher education is based solely upon the effort and intents of the individual involved within the system. In the excerpt of Ronald Barnett’s book, The idea of Higher Education, and Martha Nussbaum’s Education for Profit, Education for Democracy, the benefits of higher education are discussed briefly in perspectives that are intelligently complex. In my perspective, finding yourself and finding your future are the two main goals of higher education. The passages from Barnett and Nussbaum show how these goals are met.

In Ronald Barnett’s book, The idea of Higher Education, he explains that no matter how much one studies or researches, final answers will never be found. Higher education is not meant to be easy. The challenges put in front of students open them up to new thoughts and interpretations. In Martha Nussbaum’s passage, Education for Profit, Education for Democracy, she discussed the liberal arts model that is used within the University system. This forces students to expand their horizons as individuals and become open to new experiences and the endless options offered. These authors both describe that higher education is meant to show a student of their opportunities within the real world, as well as making them think in critical and uncomfortable ways. This is because the real world contains complex issues, careers and experiences that cannot be mimicked. Therefore, higher education is meant to prepare someone for the world through the exploration of ideas and topics. Barnett expresses that higher education is not meant to be comforting. Nussbaum shows that this can be proven through the university education system since they have a liberal arts model. This model encourages students to take courses outside of their normal career path and explore the options presented to them.

I believe that higher education has many ways of forcing someone to find themselves and that the results of higher education are dependant on what the student puts into it. Overall, the two main goals of higher education is to find oneself and to find one’s future. These are separate goals, yet overlap in many aspects. University education makes someone more aware by forcing them to be independent and eventually codependent. This can be proven by the abrupt independence of moving out of a parent/guardian’s household. This alone forces someone to learn to live with the help of few people extremely quickly. Codependence is evolved while living and learning with the help of others. By interacting and depending on others for various reasons, higher education makes someone grow as an individual. In my experience, this can describe the unsettling feeling Barnett describes in his passage. Being put into situations and being assigned tasks that are unprecedented to an individual’s knowledge makes them find who they really are. Studying abroad is an example of this. Although it is unsettling and quite often scary, learning and living in a completely different culture forces someone to explore new ideas and experiences. This helps people grow to become independent.

Finding a career that someone loves is the other intention of higher education. Unlike myself, most people do not come into freshman year with the intent of becoming a doctor, no matter how long and hard the process is. However, finding a career an individual is passionate about is hard no matter the circumstances. Nussbaum’s explanation of the liberal arts model shows the process of forcing students to go outside of their comfort zone and take courses they wouldn’t usually consider. However, these courses opens an individual’s eyes to the thousands of options offered in the real world. For me, the liberal arts education made me even more passionate about health and medical studies, but also expanded my horizons to new opportunities such as careers in public health, marine science and research. These are all topics I’m highly interested in even though my end goal is already in mind.

Ronald Barnett and Martha Nussbaum explain their views on the goals of higher education while showing that it is not easy to be in this unusual and uncomfortable time frame. Additionally, they show the variety of explorations and ideas that students are exposed to throughout their education. My perspective of the two main goals of education, finding yourself and finding your future, can be explained using these passages. No matter the end goal or process to get to it, higher education is designed to expose students to new ideas, opinions and options.