Creative: Write a letter to John Henry Cardinal Newman telling him how much you appreciate his take on what a university education should be about
Exactly what is education? Surely it is just the pouring of facts into our young minds, as we have grown accustomed to for so long. What else do we learn from 13 years of primary and secondary education, except for how to absorb textbooks long into our days at uni?
I highly value your understanding of the stresses of university as it is presented to us, especially today. Nights on end do students like myself sit awake in their beds at night, thinking about distinctions and high distinctions, the difference between a degree and no degree. Many times do we feel like we are wasting away because we can feel our passions wilting underneath the weight of textbooks that are shoved towards us by disinteresting lectures. It is true that our universities need to focus their education less on mere ‘knowledge’ and make it ‘good’, as knowledge is useless without purpose or engagement.
However, you also make the valid point that a university is not built to create masterminds out of every student that walks through its doors. We are all individuals with different capacities and talents, some of which cannot be learned through such institutions. However, even those that make use of university cannot expect to be the next great philosopher. While university can be a means of expanding yourself and your talents, there is only so much of this expanding that you can accomplish without experiencing life outside of the restrictions of education. University is an experience, not a textbook in the same way that Knowledge is in its most basic form.
Furthermore, your emphasis on the ideas of ‘good’ and ‘useful’ really put into perspective the situation that I, and many others around me, find themselves in. “The useful is not always good, the good is always useful.” How interesting for you to bring this up! You really captivate the essence of what uni should be versus what it is respectively. A good university would be one that serves as useful, without stripping itself of its goodness. I’ve never felt so connected to another person’s understanding on the disorganisation that is university today.