College as "mandatory personal growth"?

A friend said something interesting this morning as we had our weekly breakfast meeting to help steer what our church calls an "adult bible fellowship" (also known as an "adult Sunday school" though I think "Sunday school" has too much baggage and that title's acronym isn't one you want to use in church).

As we talked about the challenge (for the class and for ourselves) of helping people engage in the material and stay motivated for personal growth, we realized something:
At our stage of life (parents of young kids) we now have lots of competing time pressures and priorities. Conversely, our college years were marked by an externally applied "demand" that we learn and grow; even if we didn't enjoy sitting through calculus class, we couldn't help ending that semester having been "changed" in some way. Today, we no longer have a mandate of personal growth imposed on us.
Maybe it's just me, but I found this really profound. Is this a key role for higher education today -- to "impose personal growth" on students? Faculty have joked that we ought not underestimate the "value of custodial care" at a university; I think that the value of a structured "demand" to learn a specific curriculum carries quite a bit of weight, too?

My immediate reaction is a mental tangent on the topic of home-education -- a term that my parents preferred to the more common "home schooling" because the entire principle was one of self-direction, contrasted with the imposition of a "school" structure.

For highly self-motivated individuals, this is all fine... but for those of us who need a nudge at times, being left to explore on our own means we'll stagnate.

So, our question for next time will be "how do we improve self-motivation"...?
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