"A College Education"
by Neil Convery
There is something about the beginning of summer that just makes my heart glad. Just the thought of warm days, cool breezes, and games of ultimate Frisbee at the park put me into the best of moods. This year is different than those of my past though. Instead of just an impatient anticipation of what the summer will bring I have been completely dreading all that this summer seems to offer. You see, this summer I will not be at home with the boys to simply waste away every summer evening out on the front porch, doing nothing but watching the stars and talking about life. I will not be making the trip to Bushnell, Illinois on the first week of July. I will not be able to spend the $5 that I can't afford to spend in the first place at Eat n' Park every single Friday just so my friends and I have something to do. And for goodness sake, I will not be able to spend even 1 week as a counselor at camp this summer. All of this… yes, all of this, simply because I am in summer school.
I know that some of you reading this will look at what my summers were comprised of and will laugh to yourselves and think that my life must have sucked. I mean on the face of it, yeah… I guess it does look kind of lame. But I wouldn't have traded it for anything, and honestly I'm going to miss it. I'll miss it and I'm probably never going to have those care free summer nights again. That's o.k. though. Life is a process and this is one of the steps. Truly letting go of our childhood and teenage years. Speaking of, I'm not exactly sure how I'm classified. Am I now an adult, young adult, single male (although engaged, thank you very much). Oh well, I guess it doesn't matter.
What I do know is that I have made a decision this summer that I should have made 3 ½ years a go when I first entered college. You see when you go away to college everyone gets all over you about your schooling, and I guess that is natural. You visit home and everyone asks you, "How are your classes?," "What is your Major?," "What do you want to do when you get out of school?." And I mean, everyone knows the answer to the first question. "Good." We've been programmed to say that since kindergarten. Now the second one got a little harder. I mean I have always had a major but it just has never seemed right. My life at college has gone something like this: First it was general studies, then it was Elementary Education, then it was Secondary Education, and after that it went back to Elementary Education. "So what is the problem?" you might be thinking. Well, the problem is that as teenagers we are told to believe that College Education means a specific job placement. I'll tell you, it better mean that or I'm in some trouble once I'm out of here. (I have been taking out loans to pay for college.) But what we are not told when we are deciding our major is to pick a major that best suits our interests. A college degree does not have to have a specific job title at the end of it. Maybe there are some decent advisors out there, but the ones who guided me in deciding my major ended our conversations with, "Now you know, it will be hard to get a job with this degree." WHAT?!!! What the crap is that?! Back then it made complete sense, but now it just ticks me off. I spent close to two years as an education major without ever really asking, "Is this what best fits my interests?" Yes, it is quite apparent that I enjoy working with kids. I think they are fun to work with and such, but does that mean I should be a teacher? My goodness it doesn't. First off, if anybody has stuck with this zine for a while they know my grammar is absolutely horrible. Not only that, but I know what it feels like to get burnt out working with kids and I KNOW that if I became an El.Ed. teacher I would get burnt to a crisp. The point is that I know I don't want to be a teacher at the Elementary or Secondary level. So, what the heck was I doing in Education?
Honestly I know I'm the one to blame for this, and I know why I was in it so long. With a degree in Education, you know with out a doubt you have job security. A degree in Elementary Education has a job title written at the end of it. It is laid out for you and that can be very comforting at times. It was for me because I knew it was something that I could do. But there are a lot of things I could do. I could be an elementary school teacher. I could work construction. For that matter, I could be a psychologist. But because I could do it, does not mean I should do it. Honest labor is one thing, but being true to yourself is another and I think probably just as important.
This summer I have changed my major to get a B.A. in Social Science. It is the best decision I've made throughout my college career concerning education. Now when I tell people what my major is they don't say "Oh… That's great, that is really great." They say, "hmm…Well, what do you want to do with that?" And I'll tell you, I don't know yet. I just don't know. But for the first time, it seems this is right. For the first time my major reflects my interests and it is actually surprisingly kind of freeing.
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