It’s just about that time of year when current students begin to think about their courses for the next year. The thoughts vary from what should I take to what do I want to take. But, for some of the students the backdrop is what can I take to help me more employable. Yes, cue sighs from educators who do not want students to focus solely on employment, but perhaps on the love of learning.
One of the things that I’d like to remind most academic advisor is when you were an undergrad surely you heard from your friends and family–that’s a great program to study and eventually get a job. Alternatively, you might have been like me and fielded odd looks or even condescending comments that said, “What are you going to do with that?” (I have my BA in Women’s Studies and a minor in Political Science). I do think that many have always looked at a university degree as something that can open the door to a career.
What has heightened this is that more students are also feeling this way that their college education is really meant to help them find a career. This is the reality of higher education today and I’m not going to argue against this point of view. But, I will say that as an undergraduate advisor I am going to try to help each student in my office to the best of my ability. Some students want the practical advice about getting work experience or making sure that each class gets them closer to their next goal. Then, there are other students who treat their education differently and are trying to find their niche or area of interest. And, yet another group of students are convinced that they will work for the UN or become lawyers. I offer these generalizations as examples of some of the student population and know that this is not an exhaustive list of the various student demographics.
These last two weeks and most likely next two months will mean more career counseling and helping students plan out their next school year. I will continue to ask, “What do you want to do.” This simple question helps, scares, and starts important conversations.