The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

The news site of Santa Barbara City College.

The Channels

Cross Currents: Is a college education essential?

Alloy Zarate
Illustration by Alloy Zarate, 2020

Angel Corzo, Staff Writer

“Angel Moises Corzo,” the name that will be displayed on my future bachelor’s degree.

A piece of paper is essentially all it is.

Maybe I’ll place it somewhere convenient for myself and all to see. Maybe it’ll collect dust in another place.

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Regardless, I’ll finally have accomplished what most Americans strive for: a college education.

Will it be worth it? Will I win in life? Will I make my family proud?

These are some of the concerns that spiraled through the mind of 19-year-old me, who at the time had freshly dropped out of college.

I’m 20 years old now, but looking back a year in the past, ridding myself of a college education was one of the best decisions of my life.

With that being said, I currently am a City College student, writing for the school newspaper, and have planned to transfer back to a four-year school relatively soon.

But I’d like to jump back to one of the questions I pondered earlier: Will it be worth it? In other words, is this degree, this piece of paper, essential?

Is any college education, four-year or two-year, needed?

What most consider a primary source to life, I would argue otherwise.

There’s a misconception that one must strive toward some towering goal, something that puts all other goals and aspects of life aside, in this case completing one’s college education.

Suffering for a while is strongly suggested, probably for a lot longer than one expects or thinks.  

But what more do we get from finally reaching this goal, other than realizing we missed multiple others that never had the chance of amounting to anything because we were too busy getting there.

We forget that life isn’t only just school, and fail to understand our spiritual inclination towards living.

And should I even mention the heaping sum of debt that comes with this education? A debt so cumbersome that a degree must pay itself off.

One becomes tied down by their own doing. 

People go the majority of their lives hyper fixated on getting a degree, strayed from ever experiencing true learning moments that an unworldly life can only give.

And learning moments are not something you can only find in the classroom. 

Self-sufficiency, discipline, and critical thinking are all attributes that a piece of paper could never fulfill completely.

Who’s to say that my way of thinking, feeling, and living should be defined by the degree I choose to obtain?

And as long as “Angel Moises Corzo” is written across some degree, I can be me. I can be worth it. Right?


Julia Torres, Staff Writer

Is going to college really worth it? The million dollar question most students ask themselves as soon as they reach junior year of high school, and the homework assignments start to collide with college applications. And all of a sudden all of those extracurricular activities and personal hobbies start to seem less and less as college applications are filled up. Resumes need to look as impressive as possible, and many times, the future college freshman find themselves wishing they had taken more time to get more credits or more community service hours.  

Now, this all sounds like a huge agony that no one would like to go through, especially when at a young age, there are many more things one would rather be doing. But when it comes to a first generation college student coming from parents that walked from one country to another in hopes of giving their family a better future, well then, it all seems to be a much smaller sacrifice. 

The obvious first answer to how college is essential is a better education equals better money to be made. While this is a very alluring answer, it might not be the one that many marginalized communities see for their future. Well, at least not at first. 

College is a big step forward for most people, one that brings hundreds of doors to open and opportunities to take rather than having to take a low income job right out of high school like many immigrant families find themselves needing to do. With a window of a free college experience through scholarship and support groups, that dream can become a reality. 

Many Latino students are pushed by their families to obtain a college education. With some Hispanic college students going for a business major, the goal is clear; to be able to have a useful college education and degree to provide a more stable future. It is like a whole cycle that comes to a close, generations doing what they can to help the future of their families. 

The question as a whole does not have a correct answer, everyone has their own wishes and beliefs for the future, but when it comes down to the probability of a better future with more opportunities, for me, having a college level education opens a lot more doors than not having one. It might not be considered essential, but it sure as heck is important.

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