Share & Connect
Many students out of college do not use their degrees. Questions turn from, what do I want to be when I grow up? To, what the heck am I doing with my life? Recently I started noticing a pattern amongst my social groups. Girl A was three classes away from graduation and realized she hated her major. She dropped out, got a full time desk job, and never looked back. Girl B got a degree in marketing communication, and ended up a well known recording artist. Boy A got a B.A. in music and half way down the road changed directions over to business management. Boy B wishes his minor was his major. I myself completed one B.A., decided I needed a backup plan, and went for a second.
Is this switch in our educational mindsets one that revolves around personal preferences and experiences, or do we conform to the pressures of society? Our dreams are getting placed on the back burners, our easy way out, “survival-comes-first” mentalities are kicking in. They call this terrifying moment, when we realize that being an astronaut or a famous singer aren’t as within our grasps as we imagined, the quarter life crisis.
How much of a role do the economy, media, and our social networks play in our career choices? Media tells us which jobs are hot, what companies are making the most in profits, and what businesses the celebrities utilize. The economy tells us we need money to survive and that some of our dreams will have to take a back seat. Our friends and family encourage or discourage us–they seem to have an opinion on everything and a fail proof plan for us to follow. It can be hard to hear what our own minds and hearts are saying with so much influential static surrounding us.
In our youth we worry about who is taking us to the dance, or driving us to the movies. We stress over math class, and having to hit the ball in gym. As we get older, we contemplate which college we will attend, what jobs we will try to land, and what we will purchase with our freedom money. For some, the path is always pointing straight ahead, marriage, babies, a home, and a career are easily attained. For others, graduation brings with it a time of confusion. Should we continue our education at the Masters level? What do we really want to do with our degrees? Will we find love before our eggs dry up? Can we obtain our fantasy careers without the experience to back our academic gains? Was our first degree the rational and practical choice?
These questions hit young adults like reality stamped bricks. My advice? Consider ahead of time what you can really do with a B.A. Follow your dreams, but also consider the job market. Gain a degree in something you love, that will pay the bills, and minor in your hobby. Decide what you want to do and go after it. Don’t let the static of the world convince you to drop out, change your plan, or set your dreams aside. When your parents told you that anything was possible, they meant it. If you have the goals, the drive, and the dreams, you can manifest your utopian lifestyle. Ask friends and family for their full support, follow your gut, market yourself, don’t sell yourself short, overachieve, shoot high, and be an ambitious do-er.
Mark Twain once said that, twenty years from now we will be more disappointed by the things we didn’t do then by the ones we did do. So, if you find yourself in the, what the heck am I doing with my life panic, get out of your box, take time to re-evaluate what you want, not what everyone wants for you, and fight for the dreams you had before you realized the world wasn’t all bunnies and rainbows. Take a deep breath, now get out there and make life worth living—no regrets.