The Inconsistency of Advice
I’m deviating from my standard attempts at political punditism with a comment on society and career. This comes entirely from my own meandering experience through the years, as well as the unhappiness I have found as of yet in my life outside of academia.
I want to stress several ideas to keep fresh in your mind as you go to college. First off, life happens and the truth behind college is that a good deal of the learning one does while in the academic portion of life is geared toward experience. That being said, take college to be your job. You may not like your job all the time, and it may bore you a bit, but you want to do what needs to be done to keep it and to continue making money. Although, in this case you are spending the money in copious amounts, but believe me, its the same. I did not focus very well on my studying and grades, and I am more or less dissatisfied with my performance. My low GPA awarded me with nothing short of no likelyhood of getting into graduate school. I realize that no one person should take “no” to mean no, but I am sitting with a degree in Biology that has gotten my nowhere.
Another thing to know is that experience is key. Take any chance you get to do an internship or undergraduate research outside of class. For the people who think that they can get an internship once outside of school, don’t keep your hopes up. Most require you to be currently enrolled in some credit awarding program. Experience is the element that makes getting a job outside of school much easier. Also, internships, no matter the length, seem to mean more than working a short while. This case I choose to back up thus: after graduating I got a job working for the Minnesota Conservation Corps. It was a three month position doing lakeshore conservation work, which is an area I am very interested in working in. I have found the three month period, while related to biology and conservation, does not mean anything because it was under a year. My friend who had an internship for a summer working with a marketing firm found that this experience was almost equated with a year’s work experience, even though it was only three months. Its disappointing but true, internships are better.
Also, know that the job market is never as good as they tell you it is. While I was in school I kept hearing tell that the job market in the sciences was getting better and better, and that by the time I would graduate it would be excellent, with an abundance of jobs. Its not. Whoever tells you these things is nuts. The job market is never any good, unless the country is finding itself in good funding and with a fantastic economy. Ours is in a downturn, and we’re spending more money than we have in our possession on this war. So, don’t expect anything.
The reason I’m discussing all this is because I want people to not make the same mistakes with their undergraduate degree that I did. Especially for those going into biology. Unless you want to go into medicine, a straight biology degree won’t get you anywhere without some kind of experience. Most places expect you to have a master’s degree at the minimum. I have the degree up on my wall, that cost me a good deal of money(for a piece of paper), but I’m working slinging paint for Sherwin Williams. Although I plan to remedy this and do something with my degree, in my field, I want my experience to be a helpful reminder of how focussed one should be in college. Its an important time, and means a lot to your wellbeing and happiness. That is all.