Phi Theta Kappa presents their panel “Why attend college?”

Katrina Andaya

Saddleback College’s Honor Society Phi Theta Kappa held their panel Tuesday night addressing the topic, “Why attend college?”

The panel was led by the President of the Chapter Neda Shirazi and consisted of the Vice President of Leadership Aristo Fatwan, 21, and Phi Theta Kappa member Dylan Gunderson, 19.

Phi Theta Kappa is an honors society for two-year colleges and is known internationally in the U.S. and abroad.

They present their honors study topic every two years.  The project is about the culture of competition.

Out of 10 topics to choose from including food, sports, education, and more they chose to present their panel on education because it is a natural subject because they are honors students.

The panel addressed two different sides of the issue, “How does a college degree affect competition in the job market?”

Fatwan argued the side of the validity of traditional education and why education is important, and Gunderson argued the impact of modern education within academia and why attending college is not always necessary to succeed in the work force.

The panel discussion was broken down into three segments of questions where both students had to argue their side on majors and jobs, the necessity of a four-year degree, and traditional versus modern approach to education.

The first question asked the panelists to address how certain jobs only take certain majors, so should students still pursue a major that may not pertain to a certain job but still interests them.

Gunderson explained that if you are currently here in college it would be pretty hard to side with a major that you will actually enjoy than be successful in.

The second question presented was, “With many community colleges offering career technical education are traditional four-year degrees no longer needed?”

Fatwan argued that many employers might not hire someone with a career technical education certificate because it is not a bachelor’s degree. Gunderson argued that credentials are cheaper, take only two years or less, and there are many different choices for specific fields.

“People seem to go to four-year institutions because it is what’s expected of them,” Gunderson said.

The last question by the panel addressed the use of social media and how it provides a way for people to network, market and educate themselves, and because of this is traditional education necessary?

Gunderson argued that degrees are soon going to be left behind. Fatwan fired back with his experience of being in clubs and how on a college campus you meet friends and people that you make relationships with that may not be found anywhere else.

Once the panel discussion ended the panel went on to answer questions the audience had for them.

Saddleback College student Carlos Suarez, 23, asked about what they thought about taking general education classes that are not required for your major.

“GED serves to broaden or expand your mind,” said Fatwan. “You’ll never know the things you learned can help you down the road.”

Gunderson shared a similar view. He said that he thinks GED classes are more about making you smarter and develops critical thinking skills as well as gives you a well-rounded education and that is the heart and sole of education.

Shiraze agreed as well saying that leadership is important to her and that GED classes make you become a better leader and it helps you relate to people more that may not be studying the same major as you.

“I thought it [the discussion] was kind of stale, then as the discussion went on it got really interesting,” said Saddleback College student Corrie Larek, 20, nursing.

“I thought it was really informational,” said Suarez. “I like the pros and cons.”

Larek asked Fatwan if having this panel changed his view to persuade students to go to college even more.

Fatwan said that before doing his research he was scared about college loans and not having enough money, but after doing his research he realized it wasn’t as grim. He said he had a feeling of enlightenment that there was a light at the end of the tunnel and that it made him more passionate.

“None of us are counselors so we cannot make the decision for you,” Fatwan points out. “It’s ultimately your choice.”