Experience exceeds choice of major

Karey Harrigan

Columnist

Ever since starting college, I have been burdened with the knowledge that I might not find financial stability or success with a degree in print journalism. I have been told innumerable times that this career choice would lead me nowhere, and without a doubt I’ll find myself unemployed. If I don’t end up working for a newspaper, does that suggest that the skills I have gained in college are worthless?

Hopefully not, but it seems that if one finds their passion in an unusual profession or line of work deemed “impractical,” one will have to understand that they are probably at a risk that their selection could lead them nowhere. Or that it may take you somewhere entirely different.

In almost any major, and in these economic times, none of us are really guaranteed a career. In the past, even having a college degree put you 10 steps in front of most of your competition. Now, with more students having the ability to receive a four-year degree, that diploma only puts graduates at a level playing field. As a result, more and more college graduates have found themselves working in positions that don’t even require a degree.

According to the Center of Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University in Boston, less than half of the 4 million graduates in 2009 in the 25-and-under demographic had a job that required a degree. One reason students may be struggling more than ever with their major paying off is that this generation is in the middle of a complete cultural change. With new technical advances and continually changing issues in our society, the jobs that will be in the most demand in the future may be irrelevant or even non-existent today.

This is why the experience we gain and the skills we attain from higher education are so important. Although we end up with more knowledge in the specific path of our major, college alone provides growth and understanding necessary for any career. We are meant to spend time in college becoming well-rounded individuals. Extracurricular projects and general education classes are available to give students a chance to become familiar with a variety of subjects and skill sets. Otherwise, all graduates would probably be better matched to a trade school.

For an aspiring employee, nothing is more important than hands-on experience. The only reason a specific major is important to employers is so that they can assume that those basic skills that the major requires were taught. However, students are not limited to learning what is simply required to graduate. We can set ourselves apart by getting involved in internships, building our communication skills, striving for knowledge in other professions, taking on projects and most importantly, being passionate about everything we do. And the resources outside what the college provides are abundant. It comes down to who has the work ethic and ambition to go out and take the opportunities.

Majors are only there to give us direction throughout our college education. They simply serve as a guideline and allow us to concentrate on something we enjoy. Maintaining the aspiration in a particular career, constantly building on one’s abilities and experiences, and maintaining a consistent effort will easily transcend the major one chooses and can be the deciding factor in entering a desired career path.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply