Education as a Tool, Not a Key

November 23, 2020

Have your parents told you you needed a college degree to start a career? Let’s be frank; a degree has never actually guaranteed you a job.


The education as a key mindset bears a false portrayal of a college degree as a magical key that unlocks doors automatically for you. Someone might think, “I’ll just barely pass my classes, and in four years, I’ll have a high-paying job.” 


This is not the case.


Reframing College


What if a college degree was less like a key that unlocks doors and more like a tool that helps you be successful in the professional world? Reframing the college experience as an opportunity to grow mentally, emotionally, and spiritually gives you a better perspective on education than thinking of it as a race toward a diploma.


Liberal arts v. professional education. Two types of approaches that many higher education institutions adhere to are liberal arts and professional education. Liberal arts is all about rounding a person out and exposing them to many disciplines that give them skills to navigate the world. Professional education tends to focus on usable skills in a particular career. However, most institutions do not fall squarely into either of these camps.


It is possible to train a person holistically. Through English courses, math, science, oral communication, and more, a student can uncover general yet essential skills and discover more about themselves, bringing these practices into the workplace.


Schools can also offer more specific skill-based courses as the student enters their department, allowing them to get practical skills needed for careers such as nursing, filmmaking, or business administration. 


Growing + learning. Whether an institution is more focused on liberal arts or professional education, the students will still receive valuable skills that go beyond their future careers. Those who get a degree will need to gain relevant skills such as teamwork, critical thinking, and problem-solving—skills that translate into many different types of jobs across the workforce.


What tools do you need? The job market is faced with increasingly complex problems that require innovative solutions. Businesses face new issues as technology changes, as people are more global and transient, and as the scale of issues is seemingly increasing daily. 


If you learn how to learn well, you will offer your employer a different perspective. Finding out how to break down issues and communicate those issues will help your future employer solve problems. Learning how to live with roommates will help you to work with people with different perspectives and views. College is set up to help you understand the tools and begin to master them to use them effectively when you reach the workforce.

If you learn how to learn well, you will offer your employer a different perspective.
Seeing the Future


You may have a specific plan in mind or a particular career goal that you hope to accomplish. Yet, the future is unpredictable. However, there are steps you can take to prepare yourself for whatever might come your way. 


By getting a degree, you’re not only setting yourself up with a higher success rate when applying for jobs; you are also preparing yourself for whatever career path you follow. Education as a tool allows more flexibility and possibility than a simple key.