Every time a parent or teacher told me to get involved in school growing up I likely rolled my eyes, cursed them under my breath, told them they just didn’t understand how time consuming being a 21st-century teenager is, or all three.
I was the quintessential “anti” in high school and proud of it. As soon as the bell rang, and sometimes before, I jetted out of there. You were more likely to find my friends and me dyeing each others hair weird colors in the local Rite Aid bathroom or hanging out at the Northridge park after school than anywhere near campus.
And do you know what I learned from all that rigorous sitting around? Everything gets boring. Television, going to concerts, boozing, snoozing, bullshitting with friends, everything.
Unless you truly love it.
I didn’t realize I could enjoy something enough to want to put all my energy into it until I joined the paper. The realization that after school activities were a way to keep me off the streets or out of my parents’ hair were also accompanied with the idea that those same activities could be a person’s first introduction to what their professional lives may be.
So, would you rather leave this institution with a piece of paper or a passion?
It seems like a large percentage of the people I have met here chose a major they kind of like or expected they would like and anticipate that a degree in that subject will earn them a ticket into the realm of a real job. The problem is that there is nothing about sitting in a classroom that can prepare you for work in most fields.
If anyone came to college expecting their attendance to be enough to prepare them for the rest of their lives, they probably should have helped themselves and their wallets out by choosing a trade school. A university is meant to increase students knowledge of the world. That’s why majors often teach you the history and theories associated with what you are studying rather than just hands-on exercises.
Nothing short of participating in an action will prove to you that you will want to continue doing that action 40-plus hours a week, 52 weeks a year, for 40 or so years.
In the three years I’ve worked at the Daily Sundial, I have noticed a consistent trend. If you don’t know how the paper works, it is basically assembled by about 25 reporters that are in a class, 15 or so editors and a couple of senior reporters, if we are lucky.
The vast majority of reporters wait until their last year in school to take the class because it has a reputation for being exceedingly rigorous. Since it is also the first time a majority of the reporters are writing articles or taking photos every week, it is their first glimpse into what their lives may look like after graduation.
It is my guess that half of them leave the paper knowing they do not want a career in journalism. The other half either found something they enjoy or absolutely cannot get enough of.
This saddens me because the majority of the class leaves either wishing they had pursued a different major and did not give themselves the opportunity to learn this sooner, or wanting to continue working at the Sundial as an editor but are graduating before they could continue discovering their talents.
My guess is that most people’s excuse to not participate in their majors outside of the classroom is that they have bills and loans and simply cannot afford it. Fair enough.
You came to college to grow, learn and discover what you want to do for the rest of your life. So as much as you aren’t looking forward to being in debt once you’re done, you’re going to be twice as upset if you still have no idea what you want to do. Perhaps triple if you start a job you thought you were going to love but realize you despise it.
College also offers a vast array of jobs, activities, lectures, projects and other easy to access opportunities compiled in a single institution. I doubt we will get this opportunity again.
Whether you have a month or several years left before you graduate, test run a new way to experience life and see if you like it. Worst case scenario, you know what not to add to your bucket list.