Going to School for the Right Reasons
As your barista who was a Logic major might say, “It’s necessary but not sufficient.”
By Shannon Mondesir, Brooklyn College
Ahhh, college, a place where tenured professors can be nasty without repercussion, and sororities and fraternities replace the popular crowd that everyone hoped wouldn’t transition into college with them.
A place where the consumption of Adderall and weed becomes mandatory, and where being black-out drunk on Tipsy Thursday is excusable because hey, you’re a college student and what else could you be doing?
As fun as all that may sound, there are, of course, the times when, in the last few seconds of your self-inflicted drunken stupor before you drift off into an unconscious state of sleep (which is always the best kind of sleep after drinking the night away), you start to wonder, “What is the point of all this?”
So, what is the point?
Growing up, kids are told the same thing over and over by parents, teachers, aunts, uncles and any stranger that grabs your ear: “Do good in school, and make sure you go to college!”
Harmless advice, of course. They obviously mean that they want you to succeed, but despite the good intentions of these people, it is insanely wrong to connect success with a college education, because college does not equal success.
Without knocking the pros of taking required core classes, such as music and classical cultures (whether these classes are mandatory purely due to the college’s desire to combat students’ ignorance of the subject is a topic for another day), there are many people who have defied the common belief that college will lead to success. I’m not saying that everyone can be a Steve Jobs or an Oprah Winfrey, but with ambition and perseverance, you can definitely make a comfortable life for yourself.
So, what does society tell you to do in the real world, and what should you do instead? Here is a list of alternatives to being brainwashed by social expectations.
1. Money, Money, Money
The first tip, and most important, is do what makes you happy, which is an especially crucial tip for students who choose to major in the arts, and are constantly badgered by others to switch to a major that will “make you money.”
Let’s be clear, NO course of study can MAKE you money. Things can go horrifically wrong just as easily for a pre-med student as they can for a Journalism major. Although these majors are of different studies, both can result in the same outcome, whether you’re left jobless OR obtain a well-paying position.
Believing money can solve all your problems is an incredibly destructive way of thinking. Love for the study will start the journey, and money will surely follow.
2. Jobs, Jobs, Jobs
There is too much emphasis on jobs and not enough on internships, externships, apprenticeships and volunteering. It’s vital for millennials to understand that while a job is the end goal, experience is what will get you where you want to go. You don’t even have to be a student to do this.
If you’re a pre-med student, volunteer at your local hospital, and put that experience on your resume. Journalism major? Write for your school’s newspaper or magazine. Art History major? Volunteer or intern at your local museum.
Regardless of your major, there is always a way to gain experience from it. These activities do not necessarily have to pay you either. The experience will pay off in the long run.
3. Credit, Credit, Credit
If you still aren’t convinced that love for what you want to do and gaining experience from a non-paid internship still isn’t enough for you, here’s something you definitely should be aware of. Credit is borrowed money that you can use to purchase goods and services when you need them.
Having credit is just as important as having money, as it can aid you financially for the rest of your life. Some people look down at credit and others get down on their knees and praise it. Either way, it can be a pivotal way to pay off a mortgage or get car insurance.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to have good credit. It is not something discussed in higher education, unless you take a class that directly talks about it. Credit, along with how to do taxes correctly and legally (I’m looking at you, millennials), should be discussed, even in high school. For more information, you can go to www.credit.com.
What is the takeaway from all of this? Going to college isn’t a bad thing.
It’s a great place to grow, mature, have fun and learn all at the same time, but it’s just as important to dispel the myth that it is only college that will break down walls and barriers. Higher education is not the only option; there are other ways to access success.