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Take education as opportunity for self-betterment

What makes you, me or any of our fellow University students get out of bed in the morning? Why do we leave the warmth of our beds to face our professors, the papers and the ever-encroaching final exam? Many students would respond with the excuse that although they would love to stay in bed all day, they must go to class so that they do not fail. Is this what our experience of higher learning boils down to? With an increasingly competitive job market, a bachelor's degree has become more of a necessity to survive rather than an opportunity for self-betterment. Is the University, the eighth oldest in the nation, merely a place where corporate monkeys are trained for the dog-eat-dog job market? This is the sad reality for a large portion of the student body who do not see their potential for a truly fulfilling educational experience, one where students take pride in their work and the privilege it is to be a member of such a vibrant student body here at the University.

The truth of the matter is that we have lost sight of this vision set forth by former Jacob Rutsen Hardenbergh, John Frelinghuysen and Mason Welch Gross for what we now know as the State University of New Jersey. Our time at the University should be so much more than a stepping stone on the career path. In a speech called "The Climate of Learning", Gross said, "What we both want is to introduce the student to the college in such a way that he profits most by his years here, regardless of any further profit which may accrue after he leaves college." This is not to say that students should lose sight of their career objectives, but rather, by embracing a romantic passion for knowledge and taking pride in one's education, we will be better off no matter what. When this romantic ideal thoroughly soaks in, it will serve as the foundation for an enriched life beyond the University.

This is what our education is truly all about. Romantic learning is what should drive us as students to get out of bed, to become better individuals and get invested in our personal abilities. In a time when romantic learning has given way to late-night cramming and studying just for a decent grade or simply not to fail, we need to redirect. These common pitfalls not only stain the reputation of a student body that was once eager to learn, but they taint our learning into one of necessity and not one of love and desire. Romantic learning is where true education and wisdom lie.



Cesar Rainho is a Mason Gross School of the Arts junior majoring in music.

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