Graduates: Quit Walking the Path of Self-Pity

Mark Laluan

If we are to believe contemporary media or the cynic in every social circle, each year the world drunkenly staggers from one disaster to the next, no hope for the future, just a world painted in shades of grey.

As the colleges and universities prepare to unleash the class of 2011 into the workforce, the same doom and gloom prophesies of national insolvency, impending global chaos and the end of life as we know it.

In many respects these notions are applicable to the individual level. College graduates have going into debt far in excess of their forbearers, globalization has made the jobs market more and more unstable each day and the end of college might as well be the end of life as the graduate-to-be knows it.

It is no wonder contemporary culture and the education system has pumped the average student with large doses of encouragement and “positive thinking”.

The reality of entering the workforce—in the minds of contemporary thinking—would just be too daunting if not padded with kind words of encouragement.

It is our opinion that this pampering is by and large a disservice to both students and—if one excuses the hyperbole used—the future of humanity. A bachelor’s degree is not the golden ticket to success as generations of college students in recent memory have been led to believe.

Therefore we highly resolve that society in general cease placing such unreasonable expectations on the automatic benefits a college education will give an individual.

For example, simply studying nursing does not guarantee placement in the medical field. Studying for a degree in political science will not automatically open up all doors into the realm of campaign management.

The angst our contemporaries feel when their intensive study into such subjects as women’s studies, interpretative dance and medieval history fail to net job placements is tragic but expected.

Once, a professor sat down in front of his graduate historical writing seminar and gave multiple reasons for why specialization in such a field was near futile. Not only were tenure track positions few and far between, the ones available tended to be in the middle of nowhere; far away from what typically sybarite Californians would consider “civilization.”

No graduate student did the sensible thing when faced with such facts. Not a single individual left the room.

At the point where usually sensible human beings can ignore such facts, we have no one to blame but ourselves if those endeavors to which we dedicate our lives to fall stupendously flat.

We must take the good with the bad; we must accept that not all can succeed. Not every exchange creates a result of equal value and education is no exception.

When all is said and done, we believe the best service a student can do for themselves is to invest as much of themselves into their dreams as possible and fervently pray for the best. At the end of the day an education is what the student makes of it; It cannot be treated as merely a pass card into some predetermined future.

The excuses given by students and the society which has coddled them, regarding the “value” of their education and automatic entitlement to a career after graduation need to come to an end; an individual can control nothing more than their own personal actions and thus the shape and character of their term of study in the university.

A college degree is not a magic totem which guarantees one’s future endeavors, it represents that a graduate is ready for the chance to fail or the succeed in the world; nothing more, nothing less.