Not “for me” but “to me”

I like my education, not for what it did “for me” but what it did “to me.” Which being interpreted means “not what it did for me in getting me employed” but what it “did to me in making me a different person.”

So I like this clip from a good article by Justin Marquis:

I understand the realities of the world and the capitalist economy we live in as well as anyone. Students want jobs after graduation. In fact, if they are going to survive outside of their parents’ homes, it is imperative that they find employment soon after receiving their diploma. As a liberal arts graduate who worked several retail management jobs immediately out of college, I can attest to two things. My undergraduate English and Religious Studies majors did not get me a job. But my liberal arts background and the intellectualism that it promoted did prepare me for a lifetime of learning and a variety of possible career paths. The latter of these two facts should not be undervalued in a hyper-connected global world where the career you prepared for as a student may already have become defunct by the time you graduate. Students need to be prepared for a rapidly changing world, and they need to be trained to be self-motivated learners who are capable of adapting to new skills, positions, or even entire new disciplines if they are going to be successful after graduation.

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  • SSG

    I was a philosophy major in undergrad (and I have my masters in it as well). I personally lived the joke “‘what did the philosophy major say to the engineering major?’ ‘would you like fries with that'”. Now I also had a “plan B;” I was an ROTC cadet and thought that the National Guard would at least provide me some “real world” skills to fall back on. That was before 2001 and I experienced the employment backlash against National Guard service members (why should I hire this guy who may be disciplined and competent but who I may loose for 14 months every 2 years?). Now I am out of the services and work full time for IBM as an IT specialist. And it is funny how my philosophical education (especially 3 courses in introductory to advanced logic and lots of experience in analysis and conceptualization) enables me to quickly pick up new skills in IT (scripting, networking, systems analysis, etc…).

    But I also want to caution against gauging the value of the humanities by their market price. Being able to pay rent is important, but my most valued work is putting my philosophical training to use in unpaid lay volunteer ministry in our college ministry. While IT is fun for me, it is still tent-making.

  • Adam

    I am an engineer and I would say I have the experience, education and training in these kinds of skills and the ability to learn them. I think this kind of intellectualism is required to be in the technical world. Can we not say that people should just do engineering because it’s a natural field for these kinds of skills? Not only will you have the logic, analysis, and intellectual skills you will also have a directly applied trade.

    It’s pretty easy to move from engineering to business management. It’s almost impossible to move from business management to engineering.

  • Randy Gabrielse

    Let me take issue with Adam here ( with a smile on my face). My wife earned a biochemistry degree at an excellent undergrad institution and has worked for two fortune 200 companies. The second one is paying for her to pursue her MBA with an eye toward moving into, what was it? …Oh yeah, business management.


  • Adam


    That matches what I said, moving from technical to management. Your wife could not have done the reverse, get the MBA then move to biochemistry.