Wisdom is more valuable than gold and crystal. It cannot be purchased with jewels mounted in fine gold. (Job 28:17)
Relate: What does an education cost these days? According to a recent study, the average cost for one year of tuition at an in state public university in America is $9,650. When you add in room and board ($10,440), books and supplies ($1,250), and other miscellaneous expenses like clothing and transportation ($3,270) an instate student is looking at paying at least $24,610 a year. The same education for those going to a public university not in their home state? That jumps up to $39,350. What about those going to a private university? Now we are looking at $49,320 a year. Of course, these are just the numbers for one year towards a four year undergraduate degree. You would have to multiply them all by four to get the total cost of a Bachelor’s Degree: $98,440, $157,400, $197,280. Now, about those Master’s degrees…
So what do we get at such a steep price tag? Besides a huge debt, not much. A survey of over 76,000 employers completed in May 2016 found that more than 60% believe that new college graduates “lack the ability to think”. In 2014 the Association of American Colleges and Universities graded students poorly an almost all of their seventeen learning outcomes and said students “judge themselves to be far better prepared for post-college success than do employers.” In 2011 Arum and Roska wrote a book: Academically Adrift: Limited Learning on College Campuses. They say that in their study of 2,300 undergrads, these students showed hardly any improvement in key life skills areas, especially critical thinking, over those who never attended college. These are only a few of many studies that all show the same thing: People are paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to do little more than waste four years, get a piece of paper, and have a false sense of accomplishment. I love my old college but I can’t count the number of times I have told people in all honesty and sincerity that it was not until after I graduated that I truly began to learn.
React: This is not a new problem. It goes all the way back to what is probably the oldest book in the Bible. We can fill a student’s head with facts but we cannot teach wisdom. We can cram in information through a classroom, but we clearly we have not taught how to discern true from false information. If we were able to teach this for a hundred thousand dollars much of what passes for “news” in this “information age” would no longer have a market and would quickly cease to exist. Also, we would find that social media suddenly has become much more boring and civil.
So how do I learn? Where am I getting my information and am I careful to check my sources before passing it on to others? Do I quickly jump to conclusions or am I careful to examine all sides of an argument? Do I only read and expose myself to things I would already agree with or am I willing to read, study, and listen to those with differing opinions? How gullible am I? How trustworthy am I? Does a majority of my opinions and views on a wide variety of issues seem to all line up with one particular political party? If so, what does this say about my ability to think for myself? Most important of all, do I truly fear God?
Help me to not just be smart but to be wise. Help me to study, but even more to learn what and how to study. Help me to pursue knowledge but also to be able to filter information through the lens of truth. Don’t let me get carried away by every new piece of information or idea. Don’t let me spread stories I have not verified. Don’t let me be quick to judge. Instead help me to be slow to speak, sharp to listen, and steady to digest what I hear and read and see. Let me be a rock of truth in a river of competing facts. You are the Truth. Help me to reflect You.