Before Getting That Degree, Prepare For It!

Let’s face facts here…most individuals entering college are young, naive, and if you want to get scientific about it…

    …the prefrontal cortex (responsible for decision-making) is not fully developed yet. Yet they still let you decide a career path before you have time to realize what you truly wish to accomplish in life. If you want to be a doctor, understand that by the time you finish with 10 years of school you may have lost all interest in helping others; if you want to be an engineer, are you capable of performing such a task? By that I mean: just because you want to be an engineer does not mean you are built to be one. We all have different skills and talents, and I am here to tell you that education is not what you may think. You will learn just enough in college to get by.

Are You Capable Of This?

The question is not if you are capable or not. But the fact is, the degree is not going to guarantee you a job, or a career, or even the gaining of new information! Schools prepare you for the basics of whatever it is you are going into. Using the above example, a degree in engineering may get your foot in the door of a potential employer, but also take into consideration that you are competing against others who most likely have real-world experience (and that is the point of this blog). You may not be cut out to be an engineer, but how would you ever know if you are or are not? That is where a concept I coined comes into play: The Extracurricular Method.

 

 

 

The Extracurricular Method

The Extracurricular Method was coined by the author (Ryan W. McClellan) in 2014 on the way back from a guest lecture at a local multimedia development school. The students were being taught how to build video games, yet when asked if they knew how to get a job based on that knowledge, the room grew cold and dry. The idea of the method is more of a belief. I believe all schools should gravitate less toward preparing their students for college and instead direct their attention toward teaching all of the basics required to land an actual job so that the student can grow it into a career. This includes writing a proper resume, learning how to network effectively, interview skills, communication skills, and providing and facilitating an overall sense of confidence about their decision.

Do Your Research!

It also means doing some research, which is something many students do not do when exiting high school and transitioning into college. A rough 90 percent of Psychology graduates stop at the Bachelor’s level, which will provide you a wonderful career at an esteemed car wash or a Smoothie King. There is an actual statistic, and you can Google it if you do not believe me: 90 percent of Psychology graduates (not just those at the Bachelor’s level, but even those who pursue a Doctorate) in the State of California work at car washes, hence the example! The point is if you are looking for a degree in Psychology you should have the right to know stuff like that. But most parents, teachers, and advisors are so caught up in getting you into college that they forget to tell you about all of the intricacies that come with it.

 

A Wise Man Once Said…

Mark Twain once said, “Don’t let school interfere with your education.” In other words, realize that school is just one process in the cycle of learning and obtaining knowledge. I dropped out of high school when I was seventeen, and within six months I had started my first business, designing websites and promoting MySpace accounts for musicians and artists. Though I spent much longer than one year between what is the equivocacy of graduation and attending college (which I am currently in now), imagine what can be learned in as simple as a year’s time.

About To Start College?

Here are some iLookin.com tips for you upcoming college-goers:

  • Write a list of ten keywords of things that interest you

    This can be anything from “nature” to “dentistry,” and will give you ten keywords to use when looking up an occupation. If you want to enter college knowing where you are headed (see our article on the importance of 5-year plans by clicking here), you need to do some research on the potential careers you plan on pursuing.

  • Look up your keywords online and see what’s out there

    Now that you have a list of ten keywords, start searching databases such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics for information on a given career. Or, Google the keyword and add “job opportunities” or “possible jobs”. This will give you a nice and clear idea of what each interest of yours can lead to as far as a career pathway.

  • Narrow your list of ten keywords down to 3 after researching

    What three keywords gave you the most interesting job prospects? Which are in line with your 1-year, 3-year, and 5-year plan? Does one require additional education such as Graduate school, but offers about the same salary and personal benefit as a career where all you need is a Bachelor’s? Consider these factors!

     

 

  • Most importantly, do what you are good at – not what you love

    A friend of mine (Corey Taylor – frontman for the bands Slipknot and Stone Sour, as well as an award-winning author and musician) lectured at Oxford University a few years back. He said something that, though mere opinion and not based on life experience, caught my attention and it should catch yours, too. He said, “Do what you are good at, not what you love. If you do things right, you will learn to love what you are good at!” In other words, you may love music but have a keen eye for helping others. Do you choose to study Music, or do you instead focus on Social Work or a career in Psychology or Health Sciences? In the end, the choice is yours.

In Conclusion

Don’t let your desire for a degree put you in a bad position. Give yourself some time before entering college so you can discover who you are and what you are good at. And always remember that even just having a Bachelor’s degree in anything is often enough to get you hired. A 2016 survey discovered that only 25 percent of college graduates are working in a field that is even close to what they majored in. The world is your oyster, and you love seafood! Go get ’em!

 

Author: Ryan W. McClellan

I am a Life Coach and Motivational Speaker, author of several books, and Key Journalist for LOL News.

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