College is invaluable, no matter who you are

11:36 AM College Lawyer Blog 0 Comments

Tuesday, 4/12/16


Today, a college degree holds more weight than it ever has.  So, why would anyone ever consider dropping out?  When provided with the opportunity, hacker and computer science student, Alexander Kern, of UC Berkley, denied an offer from Y Combinator, a company that aids young talent in assisting with startup funding and mentoring, to stay in school and pursue his degree.  In his article, “Don’t Drop Out: Why There’s Still Value in College,” Kern highlights the opportunities that college provides and the benefits it holds for all students, even when given the chance to drop out to pursue their dreams. 

 The article highlights the benefits of staying in college— which are many.  Kern begins by explaining that he denied the Y Combinator offer because he knew that if he took the offer, he would never have gone back to college, whether the company succeeded or failed.  He recognizes the value of having a degree, regardless of the field that it’s in.  “Every single field of study has intellectual worth, whether you appreciate it or not…” he writes, “…Every discipline, by its very nature, has a different way of learning. Each gives you new ways to conceptualize entities and their interactions with each other… The analytical tools you gain through the study of a field are far greater use than any degree” (Kern 3).  College is the only environment where an individual can specialize in area and develop a base knowledge in so many others.  Some students feel as though they are being forced to spend more money, to spend more time taking classes that are not required for their major or minor— essentially, viewing college as a waste of money and time.  However, those are the classes that provide students with various analytical tools, opposing viewpoints, and well-rounded education. 

College is the only time in anyone’s life where there is an opportunity to grow every single day.  Kern, as talented of a mind as he is, understands that he is not the next Mark Zuckerberg, the co-founder of Facebook, and wants to remind students that they are not either.  “College is an invitation to discover yourself,” says Kern (4).  That is undoubtedly true, college is an invitation to explore oneself; to learn their physical, emotional, and mental capacities.  With that being said, self-learning and realization combined with academic work makes college the only time when someone is constantly saturated with growth. 
The article also advises students to take advantage of the collegiate setting.  There is no reason to hurry.  If a student is really adamant and passionate about something, then there is no reason for them not to begin working on their dreams.  Kern explains that he discovered a community of friends that challenge him every day (6).  Friends are the essence of full college experience, they provide social and academic support.  Upon leaving college, best friends are no longer a few doors down and the working world can be isolating. 

It is important to remember that college is not always about work.  Kern provides an “abbreviated list” of things a student will miss out on should they decide to leave college: meeting people of various different backgrounds, upbringings, and viewpoints, free time, the ability to join or start a student group, take a part in Greek Life, to live in an environment where it is “socially acceptable” to expand one’s mind, experience internships, travel, spend time with friends and supporting them in their pursuits, and abuse the ability to wear sweatpants every single day (6-7).  The truth is that college is the last chance most people have to experience as much or as little as they want before settling down into the working world.  Whether someone chooses to take advantage of it, or not, there will never be another time in someone’s life when opportunity is truly endless— college is truly invaluable, no matter who you are.

To read Alexander Kern's article, "Don't Drop Out: Why There's Still Value in College," click here

Seth Canner
Assistant Editor-In-Chief, CLB
Law Clerk, Levitt Law Firm 


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