I am now halfway through my fourth year of college education, and boy has it been a ride. I am not the same person I was when I stepped onto that pretty little campus in Western Pennsylvania as a freshman.
Of all the things I’ve learned in that time, a few key ideas stand out. I would like to spend the next few weeks sharing these ideas. I came up with very little of these thoughts myself. I have taken them from professors and books I’ve read and tried to synthesize them.
The first idea I would like to address is that of higher education itself. It seems that many now view it as merely a hoop to jump through, an item to cross off their list. But college has been such a blessing to me, it saddens me to see it scorned by other students.
No other creature has a mind like that of a human being. We have an incredible capacity for understanding and creating. Our minds are part of the image of God within us, and they were given to us for the purpose of worshipping God. By studying the attributes of God and his creation, we are able to love him more.
When we glorify God with our minds, we also benefit as a result. Education is good both for what it accomplishes and for the intrinsic pleasure it offers. It allows us to find better ways of living, to bring peace and prosperity to the world and nourish it until Christ’s return. But there is also joy in beholding the glory of God and magnifying it. Missionary and Olympic athlete Eric Liddell once said he could feel God’s pleasure when he ran. The same is true when we exercise our minds.
There are three attitudes with which one can approach higher education. One is to avoid hard work as much as possible. You can do this by cheating, procrastinating, or simply choosing not to take classes that you know will be challenging. Another attitude is one of mastery over the educational system. People with this attitude view education as a tool for obtaining something else, usually a certain job, title, or salary. These people obsess over building their transcript and resume, striving to ace all of their classes.
The third approach to education views learning as a journey. The diploma is secondary. You are in college to cultivate your mind and to find truth. With this attitude, you will put not only your mind but your heart into every piece of work you turn in.
If you are a student, your calling at this time is to learn. The next time you feel like cutting class or increasing the period size on your paper to beef up the page count, remember how priveleged you are to be in school at all. Consider how you want to spend the time that you have. Do you want to live for the weekend, make school your god, or offer your mind as a sacrifice before God?