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College Students: Your Degree Owe You Nothing

Posted by Kevin Kleitches on April 22, 2016

Business and Entrepreneurship, Inspiration, Pursuing Your Passion

your college degree doesn't promise you anything
Photo Credit: Clark Street Mercantile

Most students that come through my office are surprised to hear what I have to say about degrees. Specifically, that what you choose to major in isn’t nearly as important as you might think.

With the exception of a few fields (medicine and law, just to name a couple), there isn’t a linear path to your dream career. Which is why I find it so interesting when students want to major in something they’re interested in but are terrified of pigeon-holing themselves in that field forever. “What if I don’t like it? I don’t know want to be stuck in a job I hate!”

Uh, you know you can just quit and find another job, right?

Another fearful concern that many of my students express is not being able to find a job after graduation. It always amazes me when we’re discussing options for their major that their first question is, “Would that make me look good to an employer?”

Look, I get it. We value stability. We want to know that what we’re doing is going to yield us guaranteed returns. Go to college, major in something “practical”, graduate and land a job in your field. Just play by the rules and everything will be okay.

Except that mentality is terribly uncreative. And it often leads people to working unfulfilling jobs that don’t challenge or motivate them. Scary. And yet, year after year, students are graduating with degrees in subjects they don’t care about, hoping that somehow their piece of paper is supposed to impress an employer enough to entrust them with major responsibilities and a handsome salary.

Students: You want to be successful in this world? Here’s my advice: Find something that interests you, learn as much as you can about it, and stop waiting to take action on your ideas.

Real life doesn’t start after college, real life is right now. Don’t wait until after graduation to make your impact on the world. We live in the Information Age, where opportunities are right at our fingertips. Take advantage of this. Create a blog. Launch your business. Start a movement. Make your art. Disrupt the system. The world needs your contribution. Not tomorrow — today.

The secret to being attractive to employers, ironically enough, is to stop doing things to impress them and start doing things that create value for others. Creating value makes you valuable. Stop waiting for someone to give you permission to make things happen — go out there and change the world.