The Learning Curve
Often, especially as our time in college comes to a close, we are faced with the question, “What are we doing after graduation?” Many students ponder whether they should attend graduate school or pursue a job. However, has the role of college transformed to push us towards post-graduation pursuits rather than appreciate the expansion of our knowledge during our time at school? The editorial board believes that because it has become normalized to go to college, what we make of our time during and after is up to individual goals. Essentially, we all go to class to learn and to gain expertise in a particular field or fields, but many times it seems that we can sacrifice that experience when we begin to think of what happens after college. There comes a point where we get fixated on what comes next. It is a very reasonable situation, but college is more than a machine churning out the next generation of entrepreneurs, scientists, artists, etc.—it is a time to learn, whether that is through sitting in lectures, discussions, or simply appreciating the atmosphere of college.
Everyone who attends college has some inclination to learn. There is a baseline of learning no matter what we do inside or outside the classroom. Perhaps it is adjusting to live away from your parents that is a learning curve, or maybe a class teaching you the basics of politics so that you can pursue a job in Washington, D.C. Either way, students are here for different reasons. There are no right or wrong reasons.
One must note that career paths and learning go hand in hand. You cannot have one without the other. Why must we focus our energy on achieving one or the other when they both are products of an institution providing career development and education? There is difficulty and confusion when we separate learning from our career goals. We believe that the normalization of college has lessened the need for students to have a set goal in mind when they consider post-graduation. We are at a liberal arts college that asks its students to develop their minds and experiences both inside and outside of the classroom. When confronted with questions regarding post-graduation plans, we must not shudder at the thought of looking into the future, but we must also accept that the classes we have taken and the memories we have made are aspects of our growth. Most students begin college with little inclination of what they want to do, but by the end of their four years, they can be a completely different person. It is certainly a privilege to attend college—one that we cannot overlook—but it is also a time to accept that individuals approach the experience differently. What happens after college is up to everyone’s own self. No one can dictate what is the right or wrong road to follow.