College Students: A Life Without a plan is not a future unknown.

Welcome to your next big step in life! Whether you’re embarking on your journey in a traditional sense (4 years, or JC) or you are embarking on your own path. Whatever your choice is, the most important thing is that you believe it is right for you. This is the most important aspect of your new journey, and it is essential to have a goal that you want to pursue. Not what others think you should do, for example, your parents or friends. While this goal could be extremely specific in the sense of a dream job, graduate school, etc. Your goals could be extremely broad as well, for example, just wanting to learn something new, being able to buy a house one day, or even just focusing on finding yourself. This is extremely important because if you do not have some sort of drive to keep moving towards your goal, it makes it very difficult to stay motivated. While this may deter some people because they “have no idea what they want to do and can’t think of any goals for themselves”. THIS IS TOTALLY FINE!! The whole point of this paper is to show you that no matter what you do, as long as you are following a path that you want to be on, it is the right choice for you. In today’s article, we’ll be looking at this idea from several perspectives. Those being someone who chooses to go to college either university of a junior college, and someone who is on an untraditional path.

 

There is a huge stigma around whatever major you choose in college is the path that you will follow for the rest of your career. This is so far off its almost laughable, after some research I came across an article on Insight Higher Education that shows just how wrong this statement is.  “the findings from a study from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which found that only 27 percent of college graduates work in a field related to their major”. This is crazy to me because we think of people going straight from college into their defined field of study. But this just goes to show, that your choice of major at 19 or 20 years old does not define the rest of your life… What a shock!

 

College is a time for you to explore different paths, and to have the ability to learn new things that you had not expected to be immersed in. While some of these new ideas may be very interesting and may have an effect on your choice of major, it is also there to show you what you do not like. The whole point of the first 2 years of college is to be able to explore new and different classes and topics that interest you, and this is very new for many students. Most schools have defined curriculum for students, putting them on a defined path for the first 12 years of education. While this has worked for many years and does make sense because of the milestone’s students need to reach, there should also be a chance for them to explore. Because of this sense of confinement to this specific path, it makes it difficult for students to branch out and explore these new topics. I have seen this first hand. Many students come into college with an idea of what they want their major to be. Because of this, people put themselves on the path to follow that major and end up either struggling through it in agony or just quitting altogether. This is a very common occurrence in colleges and universities all around the world, and there are several factors helping and hurting students surrounding this.

 

Many colleges are starting to enforce that freshman and sophomore students take classes in varying fields in order to give them exposure to different topics. Because of this, it is forcing students to not just stick with their journalism or business classes they think they want to pursue. It is making a student go out and explore classes and topics that interest them, giving them the ability to test out new ideas and see what they might enjoy. But on the other side of the spectrum are colleges that are pretty much doing the opposite. It is fairly common nowadays for universities to make students decide a major before acceptance, which automatically puts them at a disadvantage. Schools that do this accept students based on specific college attendance, rather than overall attendance. While this does make sense that these schools do not want to be over-enrolled, it does not make sense that it is very difficult for students to switch majors. Because of this, I have personally seen friends who have either struggled through school or just ended up quitting all together due to a lack of interest in their major. Because of this I heavily recommend that students do some research into the school and see what variety of majors that they offer, as well as what it is like to switch. While this goes directly against giving students the ability to explore, we cannot change how these schools are run. All we can do is go in with an open mind and have the previous knowledge of what it is like if that path does not fit you.

 

Now that we’ve looked into what it’s like from a traditional path perspective, we will now look at it from the other side. Now, this can be many different things, whether it is a trade school, straight to work, or anything else. There are many forms of an untraditional path of further education, whether this is through schooling or through hands-on experience. The most important thing is to be following a path that interests you and makes you want to learn more. While most people think of a traditional schooling path as going through primary, and then on to college and beyond. There is a huge population of people that never liked school, and do not want to continue following high school graduation. While these people may have not enjoyed traditional schooling, there are many other forms of learning that interest many people. For example, one of the most up and coming forms of schooling is a trade school. Which is focused on teaching and helping students perfect different trades and crafts. These schools are made to help students learn new crafts and be able to utilize these skills to grow their careers. Trade school are also different than traditional universities in the sense of time and what it means to graduate. “Program lengths vary, but typically, they can range from anywhere from eight months to two years. Unlike a four-year college, you don’t graduate from a trade school with a bachelor’s degree. Usually, upon completion of the program, you’ll receive a diploma or trade certificate acknowledging you successfully finished”. Trade schools give students the ability to expand their knowledge about something they know they already enjoy and gives them the path to a career. Because of trade schools, it is giving students the ability to start making money and building their career much sooner than college, and at a fraction of the price.

 

Trade schools are only one of the countless paths to figuring out your future, and now we’re going to dive into a few others. There are many career choices in the world today, and the way you go about obtaining a career for yourself is entirely up to you. While many people only see college as a way to pursue a career, there are countless other ways depending on what you are looking for. For example, most people who want to go into the medical and nursing field need to go through countless years of schooling and potentially a mountain of debt. But what many people do not know is that there are many different types of certifications and licenses that can be obtained in the medical field without schooling. Just a few would be, CPA, EMT, nursing home worker, and countless others that are very desirable and essential careers. While this is just one example of a field of career paths, there are many options other than college. With the age of the internet, it is giving students the ability to learn new skills from home. Because of this, it opens up so many doors for exploring what you want to do in the future and makes it possible to test new things out. Without the repercussions that come with potentially going to college for a major you thought you would like.

 

We have covered a lot in this article, but there are a couple of main takeaways that I want you to remember if anything at all. The number one and most important thing to remember when it comes to your future and being unaware of what you want to do is… do what you love, and you will never work a day in your life. I know it is super cliché and you’ve probably heard it a thousand times before but hear me out. Whether you decide to pursue a college education or go in any other direction that you want as long as you are doing something that interests you it makes it much easier to keep going. In my mind, it’s almost impossible to pursue something with passion and your full ability unless it is something that you are truly passionate about. Having the ability to know what you want to do is great, but we have also seen in this article how it is difficult for many people to find that path. The second takeaway to remember is that this is ok. Not knowing what you want to do with your future is totally normal, but what you do with it is what can set you apart. Instead of sitting in the agony of the unknown, take this opportunity to explore and try new things. This can be done in so many ways. Whether this is through a gap year where you travel the world or as little as watching some videos on YouTube. It is your opportunity to go out and explore what the world has to offer and to see what you want to offer the world. The world is pretty damn big and has a lot to offer to those who go out and get what they want. With this in mind, it is always important to remember that you are your own person. No one can tell you what to do with your life, and you have the ability to make that choice for yourself whenever you feel ready. If you are able to keep this in mind, and not compare what others are doing to yourself. It will give you a very different perspective. Life is all about finding what interests you and what you are truly passionate about. Finding this should be of the utmost importance if you are unaware of your future. So, I will leave you with this. You are never lost, you are just unaware.

 

Sources: 

https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2019/08/02/new-data-track-graduates-six-popular-majors-through-their-first-three-jobs

https://blog.prepscholar.com/what-is-a-trade-school

 

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.