Graduating from college can be complicated. It's not like graduating from grammar school or high school, where the next step you take is clear: off to the next grade or off to some form of post-secondary education.
For others, their next step is too clear, and that's what scares them. Being a doctor requires a lot more years in school, making a lot less money than that of a banker or an accountant. Such a path begs the question: How badly do I want this career?
However foggy your view of the road ahead, one thing has become clear: There aren't enough college graduates ready to face the world.
According to the McGraw-Hill Workforce Readiness Survey, 21 percent of college graduates felt "very prepared" to get a job when they left college in 2016. That percentage is only a 1% difference from the previous year, and it reflects a deeper issue of higher education.
The question of why higher education exists is one that both students and faculty should consider. If a student is going to college to get a specific job afterward, then the education should be tailored to the student's needs. If college administrations are accepting students with the purpose of increasing enrollment and keeping the lights on, then students are left out to dry after graduation, just like many others in the workforce.
If the purpose of your college is to force students to enroll in a graduate program to get the most out of their concentration, then college just becomes another building block needed to accomplish your goal. Graduate school is a great idea, but it's an expensive one as well.
For most people, a bachelor's degree is their golden ticket to a job or promotion. But unfortunately, few students are leaving college feeling this way.
One major component is the lack of practicality regarding college courses. Unfortunately, there are schools that don't require internships or co-op experience before graduation. Even if they do, there's a chance that one internship is not enough to prepare college students for the workforce.
Besides job experience, job awareness is another major factor in college graduates striking out in the workforce.
In a survey of college students collected by GradStaff and reported by CNBC, "75 percent of respondents said they didn't know what jobs matched their interests." A second survey revealed that "46 percent didn't know what to do with their major."
I find it interesting looking at university homepages that highlight the employment rates of their graduates, rather than the job placement rates. Anyone can get a job at a local restaurant or a convenience store with a bachelor's degree, but a bachelor's degree should allow you to feel confident that you can work in your desired career field.
Within higher education, there needs to be more time spent on finding careers applicable to students' interests and majors, rather than making it simply about passing courses.
If you're in college and you don't know where career services is located, you have a problem. The problem becomes larger if you think you'll graduate soon.
I will not feel comfortable graduating until I feel like being in college isn't holding me back from facing the world rather than protecting me from facing the world.
At the end of the day, it's about wanting more for yourself. I don't want to graduate and hope my school hires me because I'm a valued member of the community. I want to graduate knowing I'm prepared to be apart of any community thanks to my education.