Definition of a means to an end.
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The Means to an End...
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Play the game. Their education is, at the end of the day, a means to an end.
In elementary, middle, and high school, students prepare to take the all-important Gaokao. And in college, they study to prepare themselves to obtain a job after graduation. Education, by and large, is not a way to train students in deep and critical thinking, but rather a shortcut to a lucrative job after graduation.
A Means to an End
Their system could not be more different than the one we have at Harvard. We are encouraged to discover our genuine interests before declaring our concentration, and we are challenged to take classes that are completely unrelated to our field of study. We, as Harvard students, should not waste this valuable opportunity to find what we actually love to do, for that is a privilege many college students elsewhere will never enjoy.
Our time here marks a chance for us to discover our comparative advantage, if you will—the field or area where we can make the greatest impact. We have the freedom and the power to shape our lives around what we do best and what we truly enjoy.
A means to an end - phrase meaning and origin
So next time, when you choose classes, go for a class in philosophy, or history, or chemistry. It may very well spark something that changes your intellectual trajectory. And while such classes may not help us to find the most immediately lucrative job out of college, they will certainly pay dividends in the long run.