There is growing criticism of higher education in America. It’s getting more and more expensive to go to college but more people are seeing it as necessity to improve their lives. More student loans are being taken out and more people are graduating from college straddled with debt and jobless.
The conversation surrounding these issues is incredibly complex. There are no easy answers in the fight. This is not a post about those things. This post is about the need to adjust our thinking of the goal of a college education. Sure, every student wants to have a job when they graduate, but there is a growing pressure to have the “right” and the “best” job straight out of college. Every year it seems my new freshmen are so stressed to choose the “right” major to get the “best” job before they ever enroll. There are internal and external pressures to figure out what they want to do with their life before their adult life is ever started.
That pressure is just mean. And short sighted. I know a lot of adults in their 30s and up who are still trying to figure out what they want to do with their lives. If they don’t have it all together expecting an 18-22 year old to is just insane! In Christian world we call this discovering our “calling”.
College is about complex and rich education. College is a time of discovery about passion and identity. College is a time to learn to think in complex ways about issues and to look at things critically from all angles. A college education is not to provide you with a six-figure income at 22. My college experience drastically shaped what I thought about the world and how I understood my ability to impact it. I thought I wanted to be a music industry executive and manage artist tours. I learned that while I was OCD and organized, I am far better suited for the work I do now. Something with a ministry and purpose that impacts college students. But even with that discovery in college each year I am continuing the process of learning and walking in my calling more fully. Sure, my college education prepared me to be successful in graduate school and in full-time employment. But this happened because it started the process of deeper education. This process was set fully in motion in college but what I know is that it is a life-long process.
College students- as you head into the academic year in just a few short weeks, please let yourselves off the hook. You will never fully understand the whole picture of the how and why God created you uniquely the way He did. Each job, class and relationship will show you a little more clearly the puzzle. You may find a job you love straight out of college only to feel the need to switch gears in your 30s because you want to focus on a different passion. The idea that you have to have it all figured out by the time you walk the stage is unfair and unrealistic. Take advantage of the freedom and opportunities that are presented to you to start the process of walking in your calling and passions. Do that with the understanding that the process that starts in college will continue on the rest of your life. Your experiences will continue to shape and refine you opening new doors and understanding. Don’t miss great things because you are too focused on making the “right” step.
P.S.- This article from Relevant provides an excellent idea of what finding our calling really looks like. Please read it!