It’s almost scary to think how many years now separate me from my undergraduate education at Emory University. Let’s just say I could potentially be a parent to some of the undergraduates currently enrolled. The four years I spent there were wonderful; I managed to graduate with a dual degree in sociology and music (handy I know), a love of learning, the ability to think and write critically and a larger world view. What I didn't leave with was much of a game plan for my future career but that’s another story.
“Kids” today are much more career focused in their education. They know the market is tough and that they better have a half-dozen internships under their belt before they graduate and a game plan for landing the right entry-level job. The intrinsic value of the undergraduate degree is plunging and students may soon see that the collegiate experience may be less about the learning and more about putting themselves on the path to full-time employment. Harvard economist Richard Freeman told the AP last spring: “You can make more money on average if you go to college, but it’s not true for everybody. If you’re not sure what you’re going to be doing, it probably bodes well to take some job, if you can get one, and get a sense first of what you want from college.”
What will this generation miss out on with their career blinders on?
Personally speaking, sometimes I think of all the paths of study I’d still like to try my hand at: finance, psychology, marketing, biology and more. A graduate degree was a luxury I never considered. Although it took a few years I chose the career track and never looked back.
But it’s nice to know that for those who like me want to have a chance to play the student again, there are amazing resources available. Currently I am excited about Coursera, an online venture where nearly 2.5 million people are currently able to sit in on classes at leading universities around the world, for free. They call them MOOC’s (Massive Online Open Courses). It got my attention today when I saw one of my own professors at Emory was offering an introduction to electronic sound design courses which got me curious about what other universities had to offer.
Here at Trevelino Keller we also encourage a lifelong love of learning through our ‘Read to Lead’ program where employees are encouraged to select from some hand-picked books on a variety of topics and share their favorites with the team. Continue to visit Wheelhouse T/K for future posts on some of our staff’s choices.
“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”—Gandhi