College Helps Students Dream of More than a Salary
大学成就大梦想

(选自《英语世界》2015年第9期)

文/德鲁•福斯特 译/王双双
By Drew Faust[1]

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[1] 美国历史学家,现任哈佛大学校长(2007年至今),此前担任哈佛拉德克里夫高等研究院院长。福斯特是哈佛大学历史上第一位女校长,也是自 1672年以来第一位没有哈佛学习经历的哈佛校长。

College pays off. Financially, sure, but also in ways that are impossible to measure.
高等教育回报丰厚,经济回报显而易见,但还有一些难以衡量的回报。

From the earliest days of our country, we have seen education as the foundation for democracy and citizenship, for social mobility and national prosperity. Higher education opens minds and opens doors. Yet high school students and families are increasingly questioning its value. Is investing in a college or university education still worth it?
建国之初,我们就将教育视为民主和公民意识、社会流动和国家繁荣的基础。高等教育能开阔视野,开启成功之门。然而越来越多的高中生和家长开始质疑高等教育的价值。那么,支持孩子接受高等教育是不是仍然值得呢?

The short answer is “yes.” There is no doubt that college pays off financially. A wide range of statistics shows the economic advantage of a four-year college education. Over a lifetime, students who graduate from college can expect to make about 60% more than those who do not, well over a million dollars more than they would otherwise. Completing college makes an even greater difference to the earning power of young women. A 25-34 year-old female with a bachelor’s degree can expect to make 70% more than if she had only completed her high school diploma.
回答很简单——“值得”。毫无疑问,高等教育带来经济回报,有大量数据表明四年大学教育带来的经济优势。大学毕业生一生所赚比从未接受过大学教育的人约多60%,相当于多赚100多万美元。对于年轻女性而言,完成大学教育对其赚钱能力的影响更加显著,以25-34岁的女性为例,如果获得学士学位,预期能比只是高中毕业的同龄人多赚70%。

College graduates also tend to lead more active lives. They vote more often, volunteer more often and are more likely to own a home. They are healthier and less likely to smoke by a margin of 17 percentage points. They and their children are less likely to be obese, and their children are more likely to go to college. Education encourages people to engage as citizens and live healthier and longer lives—powerful reasons for earning a college degree.
受过高等教育的人生活也更积极。他们会更积极参与投票和志愿者活动,更可能拥有自己的住房。他们会更健康,吸烟的可能性仅为17%。他们自己和孩子出现肥胖问题的可能性都更小,孩子也更可能接受大学教育。教育鼓励人们做积极的公民,鼓励更健康、更长寿的生活——这些都是获得大学学位的重要原因。

But what about the benefits of college that are more difficult to measure? They are equally significant and add up to a lot of value over the course of a lifetime:
那么,大学教育还带来哪些难以衡量的益处呢?这些益处同样重要,我们将因此而受益终身。

College takes students to places they’ve never been before. College is a passport to different places, different times, and different ways of thinking—from learning new languages to considering the arc of human history to diving deep into the building blocks of matter. It gives students a chance to understand themselves differently, seeing how their lives are both like and unlike those who inhabited other eras and other lands. For many of us, it is the best chance we will have to follow our curiosity— to take a course on art, or literature or to explore life in another century or another culture.
大学带领学生领略不一样的风景。在大学,我们学习新的语言,思考人类历史的变迁、深入探究物质构成——我们得以游览不同的地方,感受不同的时代,了解不同的思维方式。高等教育让学生有机会从不同角度了解自己,看到自己的生活与不同时代、不同地域的人有何异同。这也是我们很多人满足好奇心的最好机会,可以选修一门艺术课或文学课,或去探索另一个世纪或另一种文化的生活。

College introduces students to people they’ve never met before. This is true both literally and figuratively. One of the most important ways in which students learn, at colleges and universities everywhere, is by interacting with people who are different from themselves both inside and outside of the classroom. I recall one student, an evangelical Christian from Virginia, who was admitted to Harvard but wasn’t sure he would fit in at a school in the Northeast. When he attended the recruiting weekend for accepted students[2], he found himself part of a late-night discussion with other admitted students from around the world, debating the characteristics that define a genuine hero. Not everyone agreed, but the differences were what made the conversation exciting, and he realized how much he could learn at a place full of engaging people with a wide range of viewpoints.
在大学,学生可以结交素不相识的人,无论从字面意义还是象征意义上说都是如此。在任何一所大学,学生最重要的学习方式之一就是在课堂内外跟与自己截然不同的人交往。我记得有一位来自弗吉尼亚州的学生,他是福音派基督徒,被哈佛大学录取后,他不确定自己是否能融入美国东北部的学校。参加拟录取学生参观周时,他不知不觉地参与了一场深夜讨论,与世界各地的学子一起探讨真正的英雄究竟是怎样的。大家莫衷一是,但正是不同的见解让讨论令人兴奋。在这样一个人才济济、不同观点汇集碰撞的地方,他明白自己会收获良多。
[2] 拟录取新生参观大学,了解大学课程,与教师和在校生交流学习,感受大学氛围,参观时的个人表现可作为录取参考标准之一。参观周多安排在周五和周六。

College teaches students the virtue of slowing down. No one denies the value of speed, connectivity and the virtual world in an economy that thrives on all three. But “thinking” is a word that is too often forgotten, trammeled in our rush to communicate faster and left behind as our brains struggle to keep up with our devices. College teaches students to slow down, to convert information to insight and knowing to understanding. It nurtures critical engagement, enlightened skepticism, and an endless desire to self-educate, preparing students for a lifetime of considering information and growing in knowledge and in wisdom.
大学教会学生“欲速则不达”。没人否认速度、连通和虚拟世界的重要性,繁荣的经济就建立在这三者之上。但我们忙于追求交际速度,努力让大脑赶上日新月异的电子产品,此间常常忘记思考。大学教导学生放慢脚步,将信息内化为见解,将知识转化为理解。大学培养学生的批判思维能力、开明的怀疑精神及永不停歇的自我教育热情。这让学生在辨别信息、增长知识和智慧等方面做好了储备,终生受益。

In these ways and in so many others, college helps students see themselves differently, giving them the room and the license to imagine new possibilities. Yes, it opens opportunities reflected in earning and employment statistics. But, perhaps even more valuable, it opens minds and worlds in ways that defy measurement. I often ask students as they are approaching graduation how they are different from when they arrived at college. They say they know more. Sometimes, they say they found a passion they had never imagined— a field, a profession to which they intend to devote their lives. But what is most important, they often tell me, is that they have a new way of approaching the world, through the power of learning, analyzing, changing to adapt to what they have come to understand. The value of higher education is embodied by people who dream bigger and achieve more, who create their own futures and shape their own destinies. ■
通过上述和其他许多方式,大学帮助学生用不同的角度看待自己,让他们有空间自由想象更多的人生可能。是的,收入和就业数据体现出“大学创造机遇”的事实,但大学教育的更大价值在于,它用无法衡量的方式开阔了学生们的眼界,为其敞开了多个世界。我常常问毕业班的学生,他们感觉自己与刚进校时有何不同。他们说懂得更多了;有时,他们说发现了一种之前想象不到的热情——愿意为某个领域或职业奉献一生的热情。但他们常跟我讲,最重要的是,通过在大学获取的学习方法、分析方法和适应能力,他们能够以一种新的方式了解这个世界。很多人抱负远大,成就卓著,开创了自己的未来,塑造了自己的命运,正是这些人体现了高等教育的价值。 □

(译者单位:宁夏大学外国语学院)

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