Not having a clue how to use your hard-earned degree in the real world is a common problem for new graduates. Colleges and universities spend a great deal of time preparing students to enter the workforce, but maybe campus career centers need to spend more time helping students understand the different ways they can put their degrees to work. Should institutions invest more time and energy in helping students figure out what they want to be when they grow up? Sounds like a very worthwhile investment to me.
Nearly four years ago, Dora Korpar was adrift. She had finished college with a degree in biology and discovered that she didn’t really want be a doctor. She didn’t even want to go to grad school. She was getting by on a $20,000 a year job at Trader Joes in her Minnesota home town when she ran into a friend of hers from college. “He had been a philosophy major and he told me, ‘I’m a software engineer at Apple,” Korpar remembers. He had taught himself to code by studying online courses and landed a job at Apple. Learning to code outside of a college degree —”I didn’t even realize that was a thing people could do.” It was a “minor interaction that opened up a new world” she said.
In addition to translating minors and majors into real world careers, it may be a good idea for colleges and universities to explore how to encourage students to take advantage of supplemental education, such as online courses, that caters to interests and hobbies. With the workforce changing at a blistering pace, who knows what combination of hobby and major will lead to your dream career?