College is incredibly fun. Not only that, but it’s also a time to find yourself. I remember just graduating from high school and feeling like a lost duck out in the pond. When I got to college, I was still looking for direction. I mean, I knew what I wanted in life, I just wasn’t too clear on what path I would be willing to take on how to get there.
Recently, there’s been a lot of controversy regarding the sky rocketing student debt situation. A lot of people, college graduates especially, have been feeling disgruntled about the education they have received.
I’m not here to talk about the trade-offs of going to college vs. not going. I’m here simply to give my personal insights about what I think about higher education. What it’s really like from the perspective of an actual student and what it’s like getting out of college, often times with debts that make you feel like a walking junk bond. I want high school students and current college students to read this article and really evaluate their stay in school.
The truth is, the most difficult courses are often the ones that get jobs the fastest. In my experience, the majors that received instant job offers were Finance, Marketing, any Engineering course, and Accounting. What do all of these majors have in common? They’re all math based. Almost all of my friends who graduated with degrees from these fields got job offers before even graduating. Granted, though, that I went to UT Austin where the business school is top 10 in the nation, the engineering is top 5 in the nation, and the accounting program is ranked no.1 in the country. But looking at the facts, these degrees are also the most in demand degrees, perhaps because of their relative difficulty with respect to non-math based courses. My point is, if you want an offer before you graduate, major in one of these courses.
Decide What You Want
College is a time to find yourself. Yes that’s true, but time is ticking. The moment you start your freshman year, try to find the right degree for you and don’t waste any more time. Delaying this will cost you. As soon as you find something that’s right for you, stick with it. Changing degrees will brand you as a shifter, someone who just changes courses left and right. You don’t want to be a shifter.
Internships are Vital
Every summer, make damn sure that if you are:
A.) Taking summer classes
B.) Studying abroad
C.) Doing internships/valuable work experience
Sorry to say but if you want to get ahead of the curve, you’re not going to have a ton of time basking away in the summer sun every year. We all have to make sacrifices and this is part of it. It’s not as bad as it sounds though. One summer, I spent 1 month doing an internship, another month traveling in Spain, and the last month just preparing for the school year ahead and having a good time.
Make sure you spend your summers wisely. Any menial, pointless job like waiting tables or cash registering are all a waste of time. And besides, you could so do better than that.
A Word of Advice
Above all, have fun. College won’t be college without all the parties, football games, friends, dinners, festivals etc. Remind yourself that the reason that you’re in college is because you need to study, get good grades, and land the career you want. Anything else is secondary, but essential. I say this because we’re all social beings. We need the love and affection that our friends can give us. Make sure you join different organizations – fraternities, sororities, football club, math club, whatever. Just make sure you’re part of a group where you feel welcomed and supported. Your college friends will be your network for the rest of your life, so choose and qualify wisely. And last but not least, you have 4 amazing years to prepare for a brutal and cruel world out there. Don’t take it for granted and use your time wisely.