College students are at a difficult and stressful time in their lives, told to choose a major and a future career and just to get going. The question is though, are we setting students up for failure? Are they crumbling under the pressure of it all?
College has become an ideal over the years, telling students they must go in order to succeed in life, much like them being told they need to make a plan once they get there. In fact, many majors at Colorado State University require students to take a seminar class under that major their first year when most students make a four-year plan so they can stay on track to graduate. They are also given the opportunity to hear from other students who are succeeding in that major and who have internships, volunteer work and jobs under their belt. This has been proven to be a helpful tool; however, it may also give students an unrealistic expectation. No student learns the same way or works at the same pace and this may be perceived as one of the pressures weighing on the students to do and be something they are not prepared for or want.
Having a four-year plan might prepare each student to graduate on schedule, but it does not guarantee that they will know what to do once their schooling is over.
Caitlyn Everett, a sociology major who is graduating in May, is unsure of what she will be doing after graduation and she is okay with that. Currently she is just “throwing out different lines,” Everett said. She hopes to work ideally with NGOs and nonprofits, but has no specific plan.
“Being dead set on one specific thing after you graduate could be limiting yourself,” Everett said. “I’m sure what I do right out of school I won’t be doing in 20 years.”
Laney Flannigan, a senior English major is in the same boat as Everett.
“I want to teach English in foreign countries for a few years after graduation,” Flannigan said.
Flannigan changed her major after two years at CSU.
“Go in one direction and if you don’t like it, try something else you’re passionate about,” Flannigan said. “You’re still young.”
Junior biology major Morgan Osborn knew where she wanted to be in ten years but she realizes that life plans tend to change, Osborn said. Having always wanted to be a vet, but after having to go through the trials of cost, pressure, competition and time, her plans may be heading in a different direction.
“I want a stable career to support myself,” Osborn said. No matter what she ends up doing, her “biggest fear is failure. Coming in as an older student I don’t think younger kids are ready, the expectations of students coming in after a year and knowing what they want is crazy.”
Students at CSU demonstrate that it is okay for some students to change plans and be unsure about their futures while in college.
“College has taught me a lot, outside of school and in school,” Osborn said. “I don’t think it’s for everyone, but if you think it’s something you should do then you should.”
Collegian reporter Adelayde Dahlin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @addsss_.