The Broke and the Brainless: What Works?

-Graphic by Jesse Mounce

From an early age, we’re taught to use the correct colors and shade within the lines. But, I mean, I think we can all agree that hand turkeys should only be orange, yellow, red and brown. Screw the kid that went rogue and used purple, am I right?

I digress.

As we’ve gotten older, although the pictures have gotten more complicated, college continues to enforce this message.

We’re all trying to fill in the outlines that were handed to us when we declared our major. With a steady hand we pick the classes we need, we get involved in clubs that match and we do volunteer work to brighten our resume.

We’re not creating careers, we’re copying them. But, that’s what we’re taught “works.”

We’ve heard it all before. “You want to be anything other than a guy flipping burgers,” you go to school. “You want to earn more than minimum wage,” you go to school. “You’ve got to have at least a bachelor’s if you want to have a chance at getting a job.”

So, we went to school. Some of us straight out of high school, with zero clue on what or who we wanted to be. I can’t help but look around campus and think, we’re all just a bunch of kids fumbling around in adult shoes, pretending they’re the perfect fit.

Every student I meet I always ask the same two questions: “What’s your major?” followed by “What do you want to do when you graduate?” The latter always stumps them. I’ve met a lot of students during my time at Rowan, and I’ve learned that the only difference between a freshman and a senior is hope.

During the first week of classes, freshmen introduce themselves like they’re auditioning for Hamilton. They speak with a sense of purpose and pride.

“Hello everyone, my name is Jonathan Walker, I am a biomedical engineering major and I plan to find the cure for cancer.”

Flash forward four years and that same guy will probably sound a lot different.

“S’up, I’m John. I’m in RTF and I’m just chillin’ right now.”

As a journalism and RTF major, I can honestly tell you I haven’t met a single senior who knows exactly what they want to do. And, as a junior, that’s terrifying.

Have we been so focused as students on getting to the finish-line that we haven’t considered we might be going the wrong way?

I’ve met people who have taken internships that have nothing to do with their major, for the sake of getting it over with. I’ve known students who don’t study and skip assignments because “C’s get degrees.” And I know dedicated individuals who are working themselves into the ground to maintain a perfect GPA.

Somewhere between freshman and senior year, a lot of students are so focused on getting out of college that we lose sight of what’s important. Yes, going to college can get you a degree, you can make new friends and hopefully get an education in between. However, though college can help us pursue our careers, we have to discover what it is we’re truly passionate about on our own.

So, ask yourself if the career you’re pursuing fits you. Will you be happy being an accountant, a nurse or a journalist? Have you considered not only the pros but the cons of your future field? Are you working towards a career for yourself or for someone else? If you don’t have all the answers, it’s okay. I’m right there with you.

All I’m saying is it might be easier to see the bigger picture if we started looking from a different perspective. Who knows? Maybe that kid who used purple was onto something.

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