You May Not Be ‘Doing Anything With Your Major’, But…

20170119_205857It may be time to re-frame the way we think about this. It is kind of frustrating when people say they are not doing anything with their college degree, and that it was a waste of time. Since there is so much demand, and competition for jobs, college is getting a bad reputation. The negative rhetoric can deter the youngest generation from even wanting to pursue a college degree. As I was about to sit and look through some old PowerPoints from my MBA courses, I realized that learning never ends, and it is worth noting that there are several parallels from the college experience that translate to the the everyday post graduate life.

College helps you to define and create core values.

Even if you are not doing anything with your major, what you have learned is the fundamental process of life: we decide, learn, change course, find new interests, grow in them, explore old interests and repeat.  As a result of this experimentation, you start to define your core strengths and weaknesses. Many of us ended up changing majors several times. It is the same after college: you start in a career, realize ‘this isn’t for me’, apply to other jobs, hope that it’s within your field, when you find nothing, you adapt to new careers opportunities, try to make it a success. If it doesn’t work, you try, try again. There will always be something that we spend at least a good portion of our day doing (i.e work); however it will typically be based on the values you’ve acquired along the way.

College gives you a framework for life.

Once you have defined the thing that you want to devote oneself to, you start filling in your life with extracurricular activities. I usual joke with co workers, who say I’m always doing something,  that those are my “extracurriculars” . The core curriculum being the everyday job with all of its training and duties. However outside of that, life’s empty time slots are filled  with other organizations, exercise and recreation. We work hard in our extracurriculars until its time to move on. Here are a few parallels and examples of organizations if you are in the Roanoke Valley.

During College After College
Working on the College Newspaper Blogging or Writing for Newsletters and other Publications (i.e. The Focus Magazine, Roanoke Tribune, etc)
Joining a Fraternity or Sorority Joining a  Civic organization (i.e. Rotary, Kiwanis, Junior League, Urban Professional League, Freemasons, Shiners, or Lifelong College Frat/Soror Alumni Chapters)
Playing Intramural Sports In College Joining an Adult Sports league ( i.e Roanoke Rugby League)
Engaging in Curriculum Based Organizations Engaging in Career-focused Associations ( i.e. Public Relations Society)


College taught you how to hustle.

If you  begged your parents for more money, you learned how to lay out the pros and cons to the loan–a loan never to be repayed. Or perhaps, it was by taking on 30 hours of work per week on top of your 18 credit course load. You learned how to put your best foot forward to get the job.  You realized that you had hustle to get what you wanted (i.e. Dior Jacket)  or needed (rent payment).

College taught you to manage yourself.

Self discipline–the bane of existence. Like why cannot I not just play video games all day while money flows mysteriously into my bank account? After college, you will procrastinate just as much as you did in college. You will continue doing things at the last minute. We learn quickly that life is about trade offs. You have to sacrifice time doing enjoyable activities and spent that time on the mundane. It taught us growth. When we look into the ‘mirror of self discipline’, does it reflect well. It is the Veritas of all of the things that surround you. We knew that we could not party until the work was done. There was  no bar hopping the day before an exam, and if there was a girl or guy you were trying to impress, the getting back into the gym was a tall order that needed to be mastered! Managing ourselves is the key to creating a good life because getting smashed before the Board meeting is not the way….

So, the next time you feel your lips about to form the pitiful words: “I’m not doing anything with my major”, Remember that it is the experience that created you. It is never too late to start creating an education using your network. Dedicating yourself to continual learning through self discipline.   Latch on to the key concepts of life, and you will do well. Remember: You did it and you can do even greater things!



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