"degree path"

Fri 27 December 2019
Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “Life is a journey, not a destination.” Often used to help people pick themselves up when their lives seem to have fallen into a rut, this quote can be helpful for giving your life some guidance BEFORE hitting the hard parts.

Consider this: according to the bureau of labor statistics, the average person changes jobs 10.8 times between ages 18 and 42. This means you are more likely than not going to work in a career that has no relevance to what you studied in college at some point. This outcome frequently results in people believing their time spent in college was wasted and that what they gained from college may not have been worth thousands of dollars. But when you consider the pros and cons of going to college, remember that life is about the journey. Did attending college add or detract from your life’s journey? 

While not necessarily a clear answer, like most things it will largely depend on your perspective. If you graduated from college with the expectation that getting a degree would guarantee you a job in a field related to that degree and that you would simply ride that job until retirement (with the level of promotions and acknowledgment you believe you deserve over that period of time), it is easy to understand why you may be unhappy with your current situation. Likewise, if you came into college with a clear understanding that the average person will have 11 or 12 jobs in their life, many of which may be completely removed from your college degree, your expectations likely met reality and you are probably more satisfied with your current situation. But while the benefits of your studies may or may not be clearly visible upon finishing school, there is one step that can be taken to ensure that your college experience does not go to waste, no matter how you look at it.

Having a mentor (or multiple mentors) in college is more correlated to career achievement, engagement, and well-being than any other way a college student could spend their time.

The Gallup Purdue Index of 2016 details the value of career services, inclusive experiences and mentorship for college graduates. It is easy to assume that a career service office would value outcomes like career achievement, engagement, and well-being, but it is clear that they are falling short of that mark with only 17% of students in this research responding that they found their career services office to be very helpful.

This research also found that if you spent your time in college developing mentor relationships, not only are you more likely to be employed but more importantly you are more likely to be engaged in your work and think more highly about your college experience.

What is most interesting about this information is that across the board, students who had mentors in college are significantly more likely to thrive and achieve career success than students who did not.

Finding where you belong after college is not an easy task. Everyone at some point or another has struggled with finding where they truly feel at home. By keeping your mind open and surrounding yourself with individuals who can help you get where you want to be, you’ll find your destination soon enough. Having a positive perspective and keeping the right people by your side will ensure that you not only find your home but that the journey to get there will be unforgettable.

Mon 24 June 2019
Professor Leonard Bernstein once wrote, “Inspiration is wonderful when it happens, but the writer must develop an approach for the rest of the time.” I kind of feel the opposite of this right now, as if I am not as good of a writer when I AM inspired. I had an epiphany last night to write a blog post for Ambition In Motion (AIM) on how everything began. I woke up this morning super inspired to write…just to write this post and get feedback that it was way too “listy” and “not engaging enough.” So here is my attempt at making this blog post more engaging.

Ambition In Motion (AIM) started in Bloomington, Indiana in May of 2013. Why is this important to you? To be totally honest, because the more specific verbiage I use in my blog posts, the higher the AIM website will pop up when students/employers/mentors/anyone else keyword searches something semi-relevant to AIM in Google. Also, because I thought that you might be interested in how AIM got started. I have been asked a surprisingly many times how AIM got started so I figured that I would convey that story in a blog post.

So I was working with this student organization called CLEAR in Fall of 2012 and Spring of 2013 and I wanted to improve participation. We had some consistent members, but would randomly receive a stark drop in participation and I had no clue why. It is crazy because this would happen in random, yet consistent spurts. Periodically, younger students would take more credit hours because they had no idea what degree they wanted to major. These kids were spending a ridiculous amount of time studying to get good grades, while receiving little clarity on what they wanted their degree to be. SHOCKER ALERT: what you like now as a freshman will change as you get older and the classes that you take as a freshman have little correlation to the classes that you will take as a senior, BOOM! I know that this may read crass and sarcastic (which it is), but sadly, this information is not obvious to everyone. Even worse, the answer to the million dollar question of “what should I major in?” isn’t obvious either.

We also received large drops in participation from the older students who had no clue what career they wanted to pursue. Many of these older students accumulated a bunch of credits in a major area and just decided “well, I guess I will major in this!” without lending any credence to what career they might be interested in pursuing. This is the effect to the cause of “well I guess I should take every 100 level class in every degree area and go from there and accumulate credits in totally random fields so then I can ‘figure it out’”. 2 years later they haven’t figured it out and their parents say “son, I am cutting you off after your 4th year of college…SO FIGURE IT OUT!” The student then freaks out and says “well, I guess I will major in this!” The student’s parents come back to him and ask “so what are you going to do with your life when you graduate? Because you sure aren’t going to be moving back in with us!” The student is like, …gulp…”I don’t know yet but I will be looking for a job.” Students like this then attend every career fair imaginable, treating it like a job buffet and dropping their resume off at every booth.

I saw students taking way too many classes without any clarity and students throwing a random dart at which career to pursue as a problem. NEWS FLASH: Most careers do not have a linear correlation from the perceived career from a certain degree path (i.e. a career as an economist from a degree in economics). I originally started helping incoming college students gain some clarity on which major to choose. I saw this as a good solution because this would help students minimize their student loan debt due to less wasted semesters, have a definitive answer when talking to their parents, and have more time to participate in extracurricular activities like CLEAR. I turned to Indiana University for help in this issue and fell flat on my face.

So what did I end up finding out from Indiana University? I will explain further in my next blog post.

In terms of a response to the title of this blog post, it doesn’t really matter what degree you pursue, because that has no bearing on your career. Believe in yourself and do what makes you happy. Don’t waste your time stressed in classes. College is meant to be a learning experience…so LEARN and don’t stress.

Building Mentor Connections Through Work Orientation

Kickstarting Mentorships For Fulfilling Careers