There is a widespread misconception about college that must be addressed and I wanted to do it in one of the first posts I write here on this blog.
A college degree is not a guarantee. – #ellamatrix (tweetable)
It is not a guarantee that when you are finished you will have a job. It is not a guarantee that you will have a stable income. It is not even guaranteed that you will be able to apply what you’ve learned in college to your everyday life. The only thing a college degree guarantees is that in the end, you will have acquired knowledge and accomplished a goal that was quite possibly was unwillingly burned into your brain from a very young age.
Now, I am not saying all of this to say that a degree is worthless because it is most certainly not. What I am saying is that obtaining a college degree is not the only way to establish financial security and no matter the circumstances, it is not some people’s “only way of escape” from underprivileged living. It may be the only way to attain certain positions in certain fields of study, but by no means is it the “only way of escape.” College is an option. If many schools, teachers, and parents focused their efforts on exposing students to all of the possible options to making a living instead of focusing only on college education, perhaps many more would believe in their ability to work for themselves and/or manage a business.
Just like any other opportunity, you will get out of it what you put in. Just to be clear good grades is not enough to obtain a job after graduation. You must have basic office skills (if your work is based in an office), excellent communication skills (if you will be dealing with people, coworkers and supervisor included), relationships with colleagues, and of course experience. With that being said, if you are considering college as the pathway to your career, be sure to add to your list of things to do:
- Intern in an office
- Volunteer in the career of my choice
- Work somewhere related to my field of interest
- Get to know someone in my dream career
All of these things are just as important if not more important than your actual degree (depending on the field of study). It’s like a formula:
Knowledge + Experience + Skill + Connections/Network = Expertise
Will you be approaching your education this way? Are there any other strategies you will be using to strengthen your candidacy for positions in your field of study? If so, what are they? Did you already graduate and obtain a career? If so, do you find this to be true?