Choobineh: Knowledge is power

Bijan Choobineh

Most, if not all, students at Iowa State have some form of goal they wish to accomplish. Whether that goal is getting a degree, an education, or even a job, there are varying perspectives on how some students see the university. 

Unfortunately, from analyzing my surroundings it seems to me that most students today are more focused on simply getting their degree more than they are on getting an actual education. This mind-set is not only harmful to the student; it is also harmful to society as a whole.

Let’s step back and take a look at the problem itself through an example. To many non-technical majors, there are some requirements that they want to get done with as fast as they can. For many students I’ve talked to this seems to be the natural science requirements. Unfortunately, most choose their classes in subjects like these based on merely what is a quick, “easy A.”

The issue then becomes that these students don’t learn anything in these classes as they pay little to no attention to them. When I had to take my natural science credits for my political science degree, I ended up taking physics, of all things. My peers proclaimed that I was insane, but I pushed on, knowing that although I may not be in an “easy A” type of course, I would challenge myself and learn something.

Now, most everyone at Iowa State should know that tuition isn’t cheap. It costs an arm and a leg to study at such an institution. When paying such a large amount of money for a university education, don’t you want to get something more out of it than just a piece of paper? A piece of paper is just that: a piece of paper.

Let’s say that the world ended tomorrow and you and a few others had to rebuild society after fighting off the zombies and rolling with the “Tunnel Snakes” in your Vault. At this point, as yourself, what is going to be more important: a piece of paper or your knowledge? Although, understandably, the weekend forecast does not call for meteors, the concept is still the same.

Knowledge is power, and it is a power that is far greater than any degree can offer you. For those of you trying to just get a degree so you can get a job: How far do you think that degree will take you if you don’t have any knowledge to back it up?

These objectives of students at Iowa State also create a societal problem. As students, presumably all of us will be entering the workforce in the future. As the number of students who are just focusing on a degree and nothing else rises, what happens to the knowledge of our workforce? There will be more and more people out in the world who will have a degree but won’t have any knowledge to back it up because he or she focused more on getting the piece of paper than they did on learning something important at the university.

What happens, then, to society? I don’t want to say that it crumbles down, but there are clearly some problems that would arise from this action.

So as of now, you may be wondering what I am wanting to see students do more often. If you were paying attention, earlier I stated that some students were just taking courses for a grade or for a degree, and if you weren’t, then wake up! Am I suggesting that everyone start taking courses like Differential Equations? Of course not, don’t be ridiculous. I am not referring to the difficulty of the class, but the mind-set of the student.

With any class, students should focus on getting something out of it other than just a grade. Students should learn the material not just to be able to regurgitate it back into a test, but to gain that particular knowledge. The main question here: Is a degree more valuable and powerful than knowledge?

Short answer: No.

Long answer: Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo.