Question for the parents out there: Does your college major have anything to do with your current job/career?
Let's be real for a moment. I'm willing to bet upwards of 90% of the people with college degrees earned them in something totally and completely unrelated to their current gig.
And why is that?
The reality is that we're asking for kids to make major life decisions before they're ready. Before they've really experienced life. Before they know who they are or what they want to be.
Most kids select a college major in one of the following ways: 1) The WAG method (Wild Ass Guess); 2) My parents thought it was a good idea; 3) it sounded really interesting so what the heck, or, 4) it's what my mom/dad/respected person in my life majored in and they have a great life.
Think about that.
College is an expensive proposition and huge investment of time and resources. Yet, most go into it without meaningful reflection or intentional planning. It's a lot like leaving for trip before you actually know where your destination is going to be.
College buys you time to figure it all out. Four years to network at keg parties. Four years to enjoy college football or basketball games. Four years to pledge a sorority or fraternity. Four years to make incredible memories and spend ridiculous amounts of money for a credential that may, but more likely will not, prepare you for the next season of your life.
Your parents want you to go to college so you can become a gainfully employed grown up that's off their payroll.
Parents believe college will give kids the opportunity to grow, mature and experience a different kind of life. But ultimately, a college degree is really about helping kids become self-sufficient. Right?
Which brings me to my favorite nephew. He is me twenty-eight years ago. He picked the same major as both his mother and I chose, International Business. It sounds really cool to have that kind of degree in a time when the global economy is bustling with activity and borders are all but disappearing.
But what do you actually do with an International Business degree? And more importantly, does my nephew really want to do anything international?
The truth is that multinational companies hire accountants, finance professionals and marketing people. Having an international business degree is a generalist degree and the truth is you need to be a specialist to be attractive to multinational companies.
My nephew is well-traveled but he's not passionate about it. He studied Spanish in high school but it wasn't something he actually enjoyed. If I'm being honest (which I am) this is not a career path that he has chosen for himself. Rather, he's followed the same path as someone else.
I don't want that for him.
I want him to study what interests him. I want him to honestly assess his strengths and weaknesses. I want him to pursue a passion not pick a profession and go with it. The last thing I want for him is that he earn a degree for the sake of having one and then find himself in a job because he needed one.
I want more for him.