Don’t trash my degree

As both a college student and a journalism student, there are discouraging comments that I constantly have to deal with.

College students are subject to hear about how useless their degree is and how they are aggregating thousands in debt to end up jobless.

Journalism students have to hear about how the news industry is dying and how there won’t be any upward mobility.

I’m sure people who chose different career paths hear the same skepticism. Why get into criminal justice? All you can do is be a cop. Why go into education? Teachers make lousy paychecks.

I used to let scenarios of joblessness and wasted time bother me years prior, but I grew to realize that your fate after college is a manifestation of your own efforts.

My classmates who applied themselves in college by getting good grades, getting involved in extracurriculars and applying for internships went straight to work after graduating.

It seems that we are blaming post-secondary education as an industry before taking a second look at what we are doing to prepare ourselves for life after college.

Admittedly, the value of a college degree has gone down while tuition rates have risen, and even that isn’t the only factor working against us. As soon as we enroll, we are competing against everyone in the same department at Murray State as well as the same department at other universities.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, more than 1.4 million bachelor’s degrees are given out every year. This should pressure us to set ourselves apart from the 1.4 million students who are competing alongside us.

In a time where the college graduation rate was half of what it is now, a degree was enough to prove mastery of a subject. However, now that degrees are being given out like free samples at Costco, we have to consider what else we have to offer.

We don’t harness the power of networking. It would be nice to have employers come to my door and beg to hire me after I graduate, but unfortunately that’s not the way it works.

We have to find them. By find them, I don’t mean making a LinkedIn profile and updating it every eight months.

It’s not my place as a current student to tell someone how to get a job after college. It’s also not my place to lecture other people on the things they’re doing wrong.

However, it is my business when people who didn’t take the right opportunities blame college itself for their shortcomings and then actively discourage people from getting a college education.

Deciding to become a college student speaks volumes about your sense of drive. It means you decided to invest in making yourself a more well-rounded person.

To have that taken away by someone who had a negative experience is wrong, but it happens.

Don’t crush the dreams of people seeking higher education by saying they’re wasting their money and time. A college education is still a valuable asset when it is coupled with effort and ambition.

 

Column by Carly Besser, Opinion Editor