It is certainly not the first time that the purpose of education has been brought into question, and
it is indubitably not the last.
In my years as an undergraduate at LVC, I was fortunate enough to be exposed to an authentic
education: I was challenged to read both classical and modern texts, to revise my
understanding of the history of the world and myself, and to reflect upon what my role in this
world ought to be. I became a conscious human being, and for this I will remain forever grateful.
In fact, I even claim that I don’t regret all of the student debt that I incurred for this life lesson
because its impact has been so utterly profound. (And get this – I even managed to pay it back
by the age of 30! Not bad for a religion major.) By now, I wonder if my peers are able to share
the same opinion.
I started as a religion major in 2005 and added philosophy as a second major by 2006. I
graduated in 2009. Even before I began my studies, the societal choir started to ring in my
ears, “Religion? What are you going to do with that?”
“But you’re so smart. Why don’t you go into the sciences? That’s where all the money is these
Then came the Great Recession of 2008, and we were preparing to graduate the next year.
The youthfulness of my peers began to fade; the excitement with which they once viewed their
futures began to subside and they seemed to start to accept that they had just lived the best
years of their lives. Now that they had their degree, their next step in life was to settle into
whatever decent-paying job they could and start a family, but hey — that’s just the cycle of life.
Too bad the job market was shrinking. Sometimes, life is unfortunate.
And why wouldn’t my peers have felt unfortunate? Most of them were convinced by parents,
mentors, and peers that the significance of their life would be realized through whatever job they
prepared to do in this economy, by how much money they earned, by what sort of materials
they could afford. Such is the reality of university life in the capitalist child of mother
Industrialization and papa Protestant Ethic.
Recently, I learned that LVC will be dismantling its Department of Religion and Philosophy. And
that the new prerequisite program, Constellation LVC, no longer requires classes in religion or
philosophy. It leaves me wondering where contemplation and deliberation still reside at LVC.
Perhaps our world has no place for such indulgences. Instead, we get the following: Produce.
Consume. Reproduce. Consume. Repeat.
How will a land that prides itself on freedom and liberty ever give rise to the passionate zeal
needed in revolutionary minds to revise and remake the world if its education is reserved to
producing workers for its economic vacancies?
Or maybe that’s all too abstract, too irrelevant. We’ve all got to fend for ourselves, feed our
children, not reimagine the world. No one wants to pay to go to college and not land a well-paid
job afterward. Think practically. Be realistic.
We are but workers. Laborers. Robotnik. There is no more time for deliberation. Make no
mistake — the word scholastic stems from the Greek word for leisure: skholastikos, or to enjoy
one’s leisure by learning. But we have no more leisure. Time is money. No money? No honey.
Now get back to work.
Carissa Devine, ’09