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Stick with what you know: simple, but a pivotal piece of advice.
College encompasses a time of exploration. We wonder about the person we truly are, when distanced from the pushes and pulls of society. We craft visions of who we wish to become as we sample bits of life, labeling likes and dislikes.
Often times though in the quest for success, we immerse ourselves in lifestyles and activities that reflect nothing of our true selves. Our foci reside upon what knowledge we should know, and consequently, what we do know slowly burrows beneath heavy layers of artificiality and façade.
As I head into my junior year of college, I’m realizing a hefty collegiate stereotype that might be worth debunking before we’re all lost in yet another school year.
Especially as college students, we face a major stereotype regarding academia. I realize such a statement is vague, but it pertains to every student. Entering college, we are steered towards the education most likely of delivering success. This often may be the direction opposite from our passions.
To think that once upon a time young adults had a choice in deciding whether or not pursue a higher education is a laughable matter.
In a nation of increasing competition in the workforce and higher unemployment rates, the necessity of a degree grows more and more crucial.
Today college degrees and success go hand-in-hand, however, the expectations and judgments don’t stop there. News sources like CNN and Forbes compile annual lists of the best careers and jobs in the nation. Consequently, certain majors and degrees are automatically earning more social value than others and before you know it, everyone is an engineering major.
An online career community called CareerBliss recently complied a list of the top ten best entry-level jobs. On the list, four jobs are engineering-oriented, two are therapeutic occupations and the rest are technical, specialized jobs such as financial and business analysts.
What happens when a journalist or theater major reads this list? What does a person majoring in sociology think when viewing this list? Subliminally, a negative message is relayed to these students about the quality of their education, in fields that are most likely also their passions.
It’s simple to read such a story and automatically feel discouraged about your passion and future. It’s easy to fall into the trap of a business degree when you’re told it will bring you more success than an English degree — three years into my business major and I still long for Shakespeare as I sift through financial reports.
Atop the already blaring social judgments of so many career choices comes the unwanted commentary from those who are often closest to us. The majority of the time, the commentary derives from the illusive, societal idea of success that one degree brings more success than another.
The notion I wish I discovered earlier is that in its essence, success is actually subjective. I define success as general self-fulfillment achieved by pursuing one’s own idea of happiness. Problematically, the stereotype surrounding success conveys that it’s actually achieved by attaining riches and stature.
It would be ill advised for me to chase the latter definition of success by say, pursuing a business degree. As I aforementioned though, I fell into the trap. I’m not the only one who has.
I often ponder what the collegiate experience would feel like if every student studied their genuine interests, despite their background and despite what their parents may have studied back in the day. Doubtlessly, academia would not feel overbearing, but enlightening.
Maybe if someone told us “do what you love,” just one more time.
As unemployment and competition inevitably rise, and the hardships of adulthood intensify, the only true way to hang in there is to stick to what you love.
No matter how many textbooks you crack and tests you ace, you may never know engineering the way you know how to write.
The world needs the writers, the actors, the social workers, and the teachers. Imagine what it will look like when we stop living by lists and start living by love.
Contact CU Independent Opinion Editor Devon Barrow at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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