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Your Degree Is Not an Expensive Car

June 25, 2015

by: Mary Neal Meador

We’ve all read and heard so much lately about how expensive college is. Now many commentators are asking if it’s even worth it. What they are saying misses a key point: getting a university degree is not like buying an expensive car. A car doesn’t require the consumer to do the work of building it to make it valuable. You either have the money to buy it, or you don’t.

A university education is not like that. Its value, monetary or otherwise, depends on the effort students expend. If students float by without putting in some real time and effort, four years at an Ivy League university are not actually going to be worth very much. Fabulous dining facilities, luxurious dorms, even the friendships and contacts you make—none of these will ensure personal success. What will lead to success in a career, and in all other aspects of adult life, is engaging in the process of learning; and chief among the many ways of learning is writing. It doesn’t matter whether the field is Criminal Justice, Chemistry, or English. Good writing will help you get further along in your career.

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University students can’t afford to be passive consumers, or all that money will be wasted. Although this probably didn’t really happen, a college president is said to have greeted a new class of incoming freshmen with these words: “For those of you who have come here to get a degree, congratulations. I am giving you your degree today, and you can go home now. For those who came to get an education, welcome to four great years of learning.” This is the difference between being a passive consumer and being someone who is here to get down to the real work of being a university graduate.

Learning how to write is not easy, but learning how to walk or talk was not easy, either. It took persistence, gaining experience from mistakes, and a willingness to keep trying. You have been through this process before, and it worked. Appalachian State is lucky to have a top-notch University Writing Center to support you as you learn the essential skill of writing well.

Our summer hours are 9:00 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays, 10:00 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Appointments are available, and walk-ins are welcome, too. Consultants can help with any stage of the writing process, from brainstorming your topic to polishing citations.

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