The Daily Illini

There’s more to college than finding a job

By Jaime Watts, Columnist

I was scrolling through the Reddit UIUC page when I came across a post from the Career Center asking students for input on their future careers. I saw a comment that stated most of the students are at the University to receive a job after graduation.

Nowadays, having a college degree is vital to receiving a well-paying job and starting a career, but we shouldn’t be here for that reason alone. According to a study from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in 2010, 62 percent of U.S. college graduates have a job that required a college degree.

I believe that it’s important to have a college degree. But if college is not for you, there are other jobs that do not require a degree.

There are so many reasons for and advantages behind going to college that we should not take for granted because we are here for a limited amount of time. As the new semester begins, take a moment to set goals for yourself, but not just goals that are pertinent to a job.

The friendships that form and the experiences you have here at the University are unique. This is the only time we can wear pajamas outside of our home and not be judged. It’s also the only time we can go out to a party or bar on any night of the week for several days in a row.

After graduation, a lot of us will work nine-to-five jobs, have bills to pay and projects to worry about, and going out and having fun might not be “reasonable” anymore.

Now is the time you can discover other passions you have that aren’t related to your field of study. You could be studying Engineering while taking part in the Creative Writing club. You can also take classes not related to your major to discover another passion and learn a new subject or hobby. There are gardening classes, an ice skating class and so much more.

Besides, it was shown in 2010 that only 27 percent of students in the United States have a job that is related to their major after graduation, so it’s a good idea to expand your horizons and gain further skills.

As career fairs loom over us this semester and the hunt for a summer internship begins, remember that securing a job should not be the only reason why you’re here. Being in college is a great way to start a career and have a sense of security for a job, but it’s also a chance to grow as a person and learn more about the world around us.

I have found that being in college has made me more focused on social justice than I ever was before. I started caring more for important issues that I’m passionate about and I am grateful for that. I hope we do not get too caught up in job searches that we forget who we are and the experiences we’ve had here. Just remember to take advantage of the time when you will be on a college campus.

Jaime is a sophomore in LAS.

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