Let’s Migrate to College

When discussing the thoughts of diaspora and the movement of people specifically to America, it brings to my mind the pushes and pulls of the educational system. In the larger context, movements of people from periphery countries to core countries involve many layers of personal issues pushing them out of the country and attractive ideals pulling them into another. The ideas that follow this “push-pull” system of immigration seems to me to be very connected to the smaller scale educational system – especially universities.

The culture we live in is a culture that values higher education. We strive to make a name for ourselves at top universities and the degree that we graduate with seems to have a sort of inflated weight to it. There are, however, many examples of extremely successful people who never attended college or dropped out before completion. This begins to beg the question, what are the pushes and pulls that cause students to flock to universities even if academics are not their prime focus. I, for example, am attending UCSB and hoping to graduate with a Religious Studies degree, but I do not plan to use much of the information I gain from this field of study in my actual profession. So why am I here?

It seems me that what pushes students to university is this increasing assumption that without a college education, your skills will be lacking. This may be true in statistics, but not all people have skills that are to be honed in a formal college education. On top of this, families pushing their children to succeed in “normal” societal roles often play a big part. In terms of pulls, the possibilities of being associated with a prestigious name and top researchers certainly draw students in. In the long run it seems that, just as many people find immigrating to a new country to be more difficult than expected, many students find these college experiences to be less fulfilling than their dreams may have led them to believe.

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