Recently, graduating from college, it seems, has sprouted a ripe mid-life crisis for the college student. It may not result in buying a convertible and a condo in southern Florida, but it does send soon-to-be college grads in a downward spiral as they freak out about their futures, their jobs and, well, surviving real life.
Graduating is almost like watching Paranormal Activity; it’s just plain terrifying.
Because of the current economy (read: in the toilet) many of us are making some pretty rash decisions when it comes to choosing majors and getting the ball rolling on our futures. Students are trying to do whatever they can to get ahead of their peers, often choosing majors early in order to get a head start on internships, jobs and other experiences valuable to an attractive resume. Some schools are even getting rid of their “useless” majors – like Philosophy – in favor of majors that will actually get students some jobs – like Business.
But is being so totally focused and career minded in college really the right way to go?
Some people don’t think so.
Besides specializing in “Ramen Cuisine,” college is an essential time to focus on your career. I mean, that’s why we’re here, right? It often feels that you haven’t even unpacked your bags into your tiny dorm room before your academic advisor is pressuring you to declare your major, and fast. And it makes sense; money is tight and it’s important to get moving on a path that will secure a successful job in the future. Unless you want to live in your parents’ basement with the family pet, college is the key to jump-starting your life. Declaring your major early gives you more experience in the field and the opportunity to rope in an internship right away. All things that will eventually make you more appealing to that HR guy in the suit.
At the same time, though, maybe this isn’t the only aspect of college we should be focusing on.
Is getting a job the only reason people get a college education? And is a business student who only knows statistics, finance and how the banking industry works really the most appealing job candidate? What happened to being well-rounded? To being multi-dimensional? That was really important during the college application process, so why not now? Even more, how are you supposed to know what you want to do if you’ve never given anything else a chance? College is a time to explore. To learn. To try new things and find your path. Not to choose the major that makes the most money and hope you can survive it.
College, if you take advantage of all the opportunities it has to offer, opens more doors than Inconsiderate Ian did for you on your last blind date. It also happens to be the last time you’re really given the freedom to explore such a wide variety of options. I get that we’re all desperate to nab those highly coveted jobs post graduation, but that doesn’t mean we have to lock ourselves into a box just yet. Nor that doing so is the key to success.
So, what do you think? Are we wasting our time on those art and religion classes? Should we be more focused on our trade?