College is more than a degree

Kaicie Boeglin

Opinions Editor

Photo via ric.edu

This pandemic is the biggest excuse students have for giving up on school, however, every reason to “give up” has a counterclaim to reassure students. The argument embedded in virtual learning is that virtual schooling should not cost the same amount as traditional in-person classes. The majority of the nation sees pandemic schooling as an equivalent to watching YouTube tutorials. Therefore, students are paying for skills attached to a piece of paper that the world could learn through a free internet video. Although there is truth to that statement, being invested in higher education presents more than an educational degree.


Attached to a degree is experience; this includes trial and error between learning new skills, and sifting through passions to find the correct career path. The experience and knowledge of experts is here for one to use and question. Although a person can learn skills from YouTube, a professor can teach the proper way to use various softwares, alongside how to use the tools within the platform.


Student life offers the chance to build a resume no matter what the student’s goal may be. Organizations on campus are still in operation during this pandemic and most offer financial compensation. College clubs, teams and programs offer experience, skills and future opportunities. As the graduation season approaches many spots among these organizations will be opening. Now is the time to find that specific interest group and reach out. Opportunities in the workforce come and go, but a hefty resume will always help one thrive. Another resume addition could be any ground breaking work or an imaginative creation a student crafts in a course.


The federal work-study program, still in effect, is a way students can earn money towards tuition. Buildings on campus are still open with on-campus jobs available. The Career Development center is a way to help all students organize their work ethics, and is provided free of charge to students. They place eligible students in various on-campus positions, which are guaranteed for students only and pay more than minimum wage. Qualification for work-study offers a chance for students to stay connected to campus and learn more about the college’s story. (A quirky fact about Rhode Island College is that they are not the first school to have the name.)


Whether classes are on or off campus, the college experience still offers plenty of chances to build connections and make friends. Student life is being held together by powerful and prosperous individuals. Facebook pages are keeping graduating classes together and updated; and passing notes in class remains a pastime as Zoom offers a private chat feature for classmates. The effort put in will always dictate the outcome that proceeds. People will only feel included when they are inclined to include themselves. Students should appreciate college and the atmosphere their institution manifests, in conjunction with their degree - if not more so. Yes, an online tutorial can demonstrate how to do an action, but it alone will never amount to the attachments of a college degree. Pandemic schooling is undoubtedly different. YouTube tutorials may help one to learn the skills associated with their degree, YouTube does not equate to the college experience. In attaining that degree comes new skills, new friends, new connections and new opportunities. Higher education will always be about more than a piece of paper called a degree.


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