Being a Professional Student
College as a Career?
After high school graduation we all have to take the time to find out what we are going to do next. Are we prepared to take-on a full time job and join the workforce? Or are we going to further our education by signing-up for the college experience? If you had decided to head off to college you were not alone. According to a New York Time's article, in October 2013, just 65.9 percent of people who had graduated from high school the previous spring had enrolled in college, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 2009 was apparently the highest enrollment point, and my own freshman year, with statistics showing a total enrollment of 70.1 percent.
Going to college always turns out to be so much more of a life experience than what we bargain for. We make life-long friends, discover our passions, and prepare for our futures. The homesickness eventually leaves, and we slowly begin having the time of our lives. But why is being a student considered a profession? TIME Magazine explains it best when an article stated, "While undergraduate education is typically billed as a four-year experience, many students, particularly at public universities, actually take five, six or even more years to attain a degree. According to the Department of Education, fewer than 40% of students who enter college each year graduate within four years, while almost 60% of students graduate in six years."
I don't know about you, but six years will be the longest time I've spent anywhere I've volunteered to go, whether it be college or a relationship. So why so long? Because most universities are designed to give you an education that has been engineered and designed to be an in-depth academic approach to preparing you for your line of work. You cover your basics, or 'gen-eds' first, then you participate in your program or major related classes. Typically, most students today switch their major at least once, if not twice, before graduation. The change often sets students back a semester or a year, sometimes more time, in order to give them the proper education in that field. And the University still gets to bill you every semester.
College is a Waiting Game
The college experience has turned into quite the waiting game for many students. We wait for our schedules and for classes to start. We wait for fall break and spring break so we can enjoy time with our friends. We wait for our residual checks to come in so we can spend it on things we don't really need. Lastly, we wait for final grades and to sign up for more classes. Graduation seems like such a mythical event, it often sneaks up on you. It is a surprise that you have to be approved for.
Most majors that students choose are those that we believe we can make money from. Usually some sort of health field or business administration major. However, these majors take the most time to complete because of the amount of knowledge you are expected to learn. Yet every year something changes and is different in those same careers. Polices and procedures get altered or removed by the government on a regular basis, and by the time we graduate, everything we have learned is outdated.
Being a Professional Student
How long were you / do you anticipate being in college?
Teachers often promote students to further their education, but how much is enough? There are so many types of degrees to put so many letters next to our names that it's hard to chose. In today's job market, the advice you most often get is that a doctor's degree won't matter if there isn't a job opening. After receiving your bachelor's, most students continue to the workforce. Some are lucky to find work in their majors, others are happy receiving a paycheck for just about anything. Bachelor's degrees have become almost as common as a high school diploma or GED and often aren't very impressive on a resume. A Master's degree in a field of study holds the most promise for getting the job you want. It shows commitment and devotion to the field, and makes you stand out above the rest for enduring that much more school.
The End of an Era
When graduation finally does come, whether it be for you undergraduate or graduate degrees, there is a sense of pride that overwhelms you. You have finally accomplished a huge goal in life by finishing school! It may take you more than four years, but don't worry, that's quite normal now. Ultimately, if your college career has taught you what it should, you will be able to take charge of your future and get the dream job you have been waiting for.
If not, you can always go back to school and major in something else.