17 MayGoing to University to Get a Job Is Going to Disneyland to Get a Snow-cone

Me and my son. My son and his daughter.

As far as I know I was the first in my Anderson family line to graduate from college. My Mom had a four-year nursing degree. I believe it was she who suggested I go to college. I couldn’t think of anything better to do so I applied to Brigham Young University and was accepted. What followed was the most valuable experience of my life. I got an education.

Today on NPR and in the news any talk about college is linked to getting a job. Little is said about an education. I find this repulsive. It’s as if going to University is no more than apprenticing for a job. Traditionally people go to a technical institute to learn a trade and get a job whereas people go to University to learn to see the world from a higher vantage point. There is a big difference. To hear University spoken about as only a means to a job is like limiting the word “mother” to “woman who has given birth to a child.”

I graduated from BYU with a master’s degree over twenty-five years ago. To date nothing has added more value to my life than the education I obtained. I have a wife and eight children. They are very precious to me. While my wife and children are my life it is my education that immeasurably enhances that life. My education changed the way I see the world. My world before my education was like observing the Grand Canyon on a moonless night. My education was the rising of the sun on the same scene. The Grand Canyon went from a dangerous hole in the ground to a magnificent vista of textures, shapes, colors, and depths.

The intangible, but powerful, benefits of my education passed down like DNA from me to my children. They are curious, thoughtful, open minded, and full of questions. Four of them are out of the house now and at University. I’m proud to say that as far as I can tell none of them are seeking a job. Not one of them is aiming to be a programmer, an engineer, or a doctor. They are simply being educated. The sun is coming up over a landscape more beautiful and varied then they can imagine.

Of course they will eventually choose an area in which to focus their education. At the end of their formal education they will get a job and embark on a career of some sort. But I will consider them most successful if the career in which they find themselves in is a by-product of their education and not the reason for it. To me they will have been successful in University if they come out with far more wonder of the world than when they went in.

About Tory C Anderson

Tory C Anderson is the father and Dad of eight children. He has been employed in telecommunication and computer technology for 25 years. Like most men, Tory has many plans for his life, but he has found that his family has been taking up most of the space. He feels no regrets. Tory's latest Young Adult novel, Joey and the Magic Map is out. You can read more about it here: http://www.ToryCAnderson.com

  • http://www.toryanderson.com Tory S. Anderson

    Thank you for this; I’m late responding, but I noticed and read it immediately when you published it. My own education paradoxically enlarged and diminished my world, making me, my ideas, and those around me so much smaller in comparison to the magnitude of what was unlocked. As I saw growing up, one of the most beautiful gifts of an education is the ability to pass it on, for ideas to multiply and replenish life.