Sociologist shares insight into college

Sociologist Dr. Richard Sullivan visits NCHS in hopes to educate and open the minds of students in regards to university expectations.

Dr. Richard Sullivan sharing insight into college readiness and explaining his guide to success.

Dr. Richard Sullivan sharing insight into college readiness and explaining his “guide to success”.

For some the word college can bring fear and panic, for others it brings visions of parties and unforgettable times. Dr. Richard Sullivan, a Sociology professor at  Illinois State University, spoke to N.C.H.S students on the topic of the collegiate experience. Over 30 students showed up in anticipation of Dr. Sullivan’s speech.

Sullivan spoke to students and members of the Social Studies club about “how to make the most out of college”. He stated, “College is expensive, you need to make the most of it by doing what you love.” He encouraged students to follow their actual passions, rather than chasing after what the economy says is desirable.

A common misconception students have is that college directly prepares students for a job. However, according to Dr. Sullivan- this isn’t true. Sullivan presented research showing that college professors and university administrators say college will “help students to think critically” and “become informed citizens in the global society.”

Students are being prepared indirectly for the job market through these skills, but not being trained specifically for a field.

One of Dr. Sullivan’s main points was that students in college aren’t learning anything. In fact, 36% of graduates don’t improve critical thinking, complex reasoning or communication skills. So what was his solution to this growing issue? Dr. Richard Sullivan stated that majoring in what you love, learning to read, write and think, studying abroad and internships help mold young adults into properly functioning members of society. He mentioned that college is for gaining “cultural capital”, knowledge used by influential people in society.

Overall, Dr. Sullivan’s advice seemed to provoke thoughts and questions from students. After his presentation, Sullivan held a question and answer segment, where students asked questions regarding attending college and life after high school.

To read more about Dr. Sullivan, visit his blog  The Main Drift