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  • Writer's picturePandwe Gibson

Investing in Yourself: Why College Is So Important Pt. 2

This blog builds upon the discussion I started in part one, where I examined the prevailing rhetoric suggesting that college education is no longer essential, how troubling it is to see those in poverty discouraged from seeking education under the guise of support, and society shifting from a work-centric structure to one that values passions and purposes. You can read part one on my website.

When I speak to parents, they often ask what their children or they themselves should focus on in college. Few leaders actually provide sound answers to this question, often dismissing it with a vague, "How could we know?" I believe this is a cop-out, as the answer is quite clear: attend college to pursue a purpose and solve a significant problem. This is what truly drives meaningful education and personal growth. By focusing on your passions and identifying key issues you wish to address, you can make the most out of your educational journey and contribute effectively to society.

In our increasingly digitized world, this endeavor is only possible when you pursue the necessary technological skills. Technology permeates every industry, from healthcare and education to finance and entertainment. When students master technology, they equip themselves with the tools to innovate and drive change in these fields. Whether it's developing software to improve healthcare outcomes, using data analytics to enhance educational methods, or creating digital platforms that foster community engagement, technological proficiency enables individuals to address contemporary challenges effectively. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, those with strong tech skills will also be better positioned to adapt to new advancements, ensuring their ability to contribute remains relevant and impactful.

I share a similar sentiment as Jensen Huang, the CEO of Nvidia. He recognizes that computer science and programming have always been considered essential, but he's now advocating that students shift towards specialized domain knowledge in areas like biology, chemistry, and finance. This opens up an opportunity for local and global upskilling as people learn to harness AI to boost their efficiency and effectiveness across various industries. Pursuing a broad education with a shallow understanding of various subjects no longer serves current students and those entering the job market after graduation. As the job market evolves, employers not only value specialized knowledge and practical experience over more generalized degrees, but students are also more empowered to make a tangible impact on a local and global level. 

Additionally, it's important to retain the experiences and knowledge you learn in college, but learning should be extended beyond the classroom. View schooling as a foundation — trainers guiding you through the basics — but real mastery comes from independent effort and application. In school, you can build a supportive and stimulating network of like-minded individuals, but outside of the classroom is where you have the opportunity to truly deepen your understanding and expertise. This is where you apply theory to real-world situations, tackle challenges firsthand, and refine your skills through practical experience. By engaging with resources outside the classroom, such as the internet, libraries, internships, and mentorships, you proactively enhance your critical thinking, problem-solving abilities, and resilience. 

Through my multi million-dollar nonprofit, EcoTech Visions Foundation, I hope to help professionals of all ages achieve this goal. ETV Foundation's mission is not only to construct eco-friendly housing but also to help generate green-collar jobs through comprehensive training and mentorship programs. These initiatives aim to empower individuals to thrive in the burgeoning fields of green technology and the digital economy, thereby facilitating a transition from traditional blue and white-collar roles to sustainable green-collar employment.

Digital Citizens Bootcamp, our flagship program, offers a curriculum tailored to equip participants with essential skills for the digital age, including coding and web development. Some of our other initiatives include the Green Scouts Externship program, which pairs students with relevant companies, and specialized programs that are focused on solar technology and green manufacturing internships. With a commitment to accessibility, all these training programs are offered free of charge, addressing barriers to entry and ensuring that community members have equitable access to high-growth sectors.

College serves as a vital platform for acquiring both specialized knowledge and critical thinking skills, providing a foundation upon which to build meaningful careers and contribute to the greater good. Simultaneously, in our rapidly digitizing world, technological skills have become indispensable tools for navigating complex challenges and driving innovation across all sectors. Ultimately, the combination of a college education, technological acumen, and a commitment to making a positive impact empowers individuals to shape a brighter and more equitable future for themselves and generations to come.

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