Yahoo education advice never ceases to send my blood from cool as a cucumber to boiling over. Every month or so Yahoo loves to tell me what a waste my college degree is. Well, as much as I appreciate the discouragement of obtaining education for education sake (note sarcastic tone), based on stats of unemployment rates. I have some advice of my own.
So if you find yourself confused about college degrees, here are 5 reasons why you should avoid Yahoo Education trends:
1. Trouble with Trends: Trends are just that, a trend, what’s hot one minute is cold the next. Once you spend big bucks changing to a more trend setting major the degree goes cold before you can finish your first semester. No wonder undergrads change their majors with such frequency! Case in point: Ever considered Psychology to Psychology was so two minutes ago.
2. Standing Apart: When everyone jumps on the same bandwagon, what will set his or her skills apart? Several years ago the most advised degree was an MBA, now everyone and their dog has one. Where are the statistics on how many unemployed MBA’s are out there or making less than an entry-level admin because everyone followed the same trend and in the process made themselves just another number.
3. Online Offerings: These articles were proudly brought to you by Online University pop-up weekly. Ok, so I don’t know for sure that they are sponsors, but they certainly pay well for premium advertising placement. While there are online schools that are well accredited and can lead to very promising careers the majority have yet to gain mainstream acceptance. Not to mention, coincidently do not house the “dead-end degrees” listed. If I was the CEO of a major online University and noticed a rise in a major that my college didn’t offer, it would certainly be beneficial for me to point out the low hire rate of said degree.
4. Higher Ed: If your goal is a Masters or PhD, these articles have nothing for you. You are going into a specialized area and as long as your GPA and extra curriculars are solid, you will land on your feet – likely with a massive pile of college debt, but on your feet none-the-less.
5. Detail Oriented: Yahoo doesn’t seem to understand the difference between Philosophy and Religious Studies (also known as Theology), as they are always lumped together and the difference is significant. That is like lumping Momofuku and Burger King in the same category. Despite the Grand Canyon sized difference between the two, one while rooted in classic training still has the ability to explore and delve into new areas of theory creating a scientific culinary experience that can blow your taste buds and mind – while the other has been cranking out the same script “your way” since it’s origin.
The fifth reason leads to the two pressure points of my annoyance. Let’s be honest, if these articles did not have some validity (minor as it may be) they would not annoy me so. The first pressure point, painfully highlighted in the fifth reason is a lack of public understanding. Problematic considering people tend to write off what they do not understand – and based on personal experience, it would seem philosophy is the king of misunderstood studies.
The second pressure point, though I’m not unemployed nor have I ever struggled to find employment. What currently pays the bills isn’t the most satisfying work. Generally, as I stumble across these articles I’m sitting at the desk of my 9 to 5, where my capabilities are grossly under utilized. Despite competitive pay and benefits, it is a job of tedious tasks that are far from challenging or fulfilling. I am consistently reminding myself that in my “real life” I’m smart – my “real life” representing my personal and writing life.
At this point you’re likely thinking, so why should I avoid Yahoo’s Education trends? Well here’s the silver lining, obtaining a degree that is not greatly understood by others, does not mean a dead end, it simply means your skills and talents will not be used to their full potential unless you are able to communicate your worth and enlighten the ignorance of others without making them feel stupid. In short, you simply need to possess the ability to sell your skills with emphasis on how your studies fine-tuned those skills.
I will never regret choosing philosophy, it was the perfect major to quench my never-ending thirst for knowledge. Not to mention, had I not found a major I had a genuine interest in, the likelihood of obtaining a college degree would have been slim. Philosophy continues to enrich my life; it was simply the lesson of selling philosophy that I struggled to get off the ground.
Another way to off set graduating in a field that is not mainstream would be to minor in a more marketable field. Then you have a balance to show the complexity of your skills. Double majoring is another way to set yourself apart, but can be quite costly if you do not have scholarships to offset student debt. Bottom-line, it is your life, figuring out your path and going for it, is your best option.
So when the cookie cutter world has you down, remember fitting in a pre-sized box just is not your path. Statistics do not apply to those breaking new ground, so why bother giving them any real prominence. Will carving your own path be easy? No. Will there be obstacles? Absolutely. But, here is one statistic you can count on. You are significantly more likely to live a happier life than those who followed a path reflecting what they were suppose to do, without giving much thought to what they wanted their life to be. In the grand scheme of things a happy life is well worth the extra work. In the wise words of Aristotle, “Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.”
Fantastic article on Introverts in Education, discovered when I found the goldfish featured image. Slightly off topic from this article, but interesting all the same!