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I’m starting to doubt the point of going to university

The Yomiuri ShimbunDear Troubleshooter:

I’m a second-year high school girl. I’ve started to doubt the point of going to university.

I have a strong desire to learn, and although my family is not well-to-do, I’m able to attend a private school on a scholarship. I’ve been aiming to take university entrance examinations since starting high school, but when I think hard about my future before I go on to my third year, I’ve started to have doubts.

For me, studying is not a pain. I also feel happy when I learn things or when my efforts are rewarded. I do well at school, and I’m aware that teachers have high expectations for me.

Nonetheless, I’ve realized I want to live a simpler life. This means I want to work to live, become a productive member of society through working, and feel worth from living. I want to live that kind of plain life.

They say university helps you to learn deeper and more broadly, while also encouraging you to develop your personality more. Is that true? Is it impossible for us to learn something unless we attend university by taking millions of yen out of the money our parents earn from working really hard to pay for tuition?

I’m certain I can continue learning by myself throughout my life by reading books and correspondence education, as long as I’m self-motivated. I feel like it is very strange to go to university just because others do.

N, Saitama Prefecture

Dear Ms. N:

I really wanted to go to high school and university, but I had to give it up because of my family’s financial situation. In this respect, I may not be the right person to answer your question. Frankly speaking, I completely believe in the importance of studying at university.

Still, I can give you advice based on my experience as someone who has lived longer than you and studied by myself while working.

You can study whenever you want and wherever you are as long as you remain motivated, but you can’t overcome challenges that come with aging. It’s unavoidable that your memory, concentration and many other functions fade as you get older. This brings home to me that we should study hard while still being young.

Why do you go to university? That’s because university can teach you how interesting academic and artistic subjects are so that you can continue learning throughout your life. University also provides you with tips for studying and the skills to do so. You’ll regret it if you don’t acquire them when you’re young.

In my case, I had to learn everything on my own, including such basic things as how to use a dictionary. Indeed, I needed to take a long and roundabout route for learning.

You like learning. I recommend you go to university.

Tatsuro Dekune, writer

(from March 11, 2018, issue)Speech

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