Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I Am Not My Degree

Isn't it funny how you're supposed to go to college after high school so you can "better your life" (whatever that means) and have more opportunities, but the current economy is not a great place for some people with a degree who can only find jobs in the retail or food industry right now? So in all reality, you go to college, accumulate debt because your parents did not have money to put you through school, graduate college, cannot find jobs you're "qualified for", and consequently can barely pay the bills that you possess for attempting to "better your life". Funny how it works.

Degrees should not be the only thing that gets you a job, but unfortunately many jobs list a certain degree as a requirement for a job. So are you telling me that with my architecture degree I may not be able to teach history to middle school students or that someone with a marketing degree may not find an architecture job, and that person who never graduated high school will not find a job ever? No way! I just cannot believe that's how it works. But how do you market yourself to people who are looking for a candidate that fits this image of someone they believe is perfect for the job? Are employers discouraging people by suggesting that they messed up in college and chose the wrong major? I seriously find it hard to believe that my architecture degree limits me just to working in an architecture firm and drafting for the rest of my life. But what then? Maybe some degrees are more limited than others, and people should choose certain majors in order to increase their opportunities upon graduation. Apparently I limited myself by choosing architecture as a major, at least that's how it feels when employers see an architecture degree on my resume. I am so much more than a degree in architecture!

I love to analyze and think... sometimes to a fault. Drawing, writing, creating, and making things are my passions. I love to help others, and I especially love to laugh and make others laugh. I graduated as the valedictorian of my class in high school, and struggled my way through college. My favorite classes in high school were chemistry and art (what a combo). In college, my favorite classes were archaeology and anthropology. Learning is something in my life that I hope to never stop doing. I really do not want to work for someone who does not value learning and growing in work and in life. I would love to learn how to play the guitar some day, and I wish I had never stopped playing the saxophone. Music soothes my soul. One of my favorite jobs that I've ever had was working retail at the mall during college. People amaze and interest me. Another favorite job of mine was painting houses during a summer off of college. Art is a great way of expressing yourself and relaxing. If I could go back to college I would probably attend art school. I would love to learn to sew, and I also want to learn photography. I have an eye for details, and I might be borderline OCD about some things. I like to call it perfectionism. Maybe art is my way of knowing what I want and making it come to life. I always strive to do my best, which is probably what ticks me off when I feel like I'm being held back. One thing I used to be great at is stubbornness. I love to read books, think, and explore. If I could find a way to make a living out of traveling, I would. There are so many things I love and want to do in life. How do you choose just one?

I do not believe that all of the above things point directly to architecture, but what then? I am so much more than a degree in architecture. Why limit me to certain jobs? I don't know anyone who graduated college that was perfectly prepared for their first job. So many people learn by trial and error, real life experience, and on the job learning. Why ask for a degree in marketing when you really need someone who is attentive and good with analyzing? That could be anyone. A job posting, that asks for a degree in art, might want someone who has an eye for proportion and design, but someone with a degree in English could be that person. Who knows, unless they try/are allowed to try. Unless employers start looking outside of just a degree, they may never find their "perfect" employee. If degree holders never look outside of their degree, then they may never find the "perfect" job for them. Where does it start? Will employers take job seekers that don't fit their mold exactly? Will job seekers look for jobs that may not be in their comfort zone? Maybe it's a combination of the two that must occur for opportunities to exist. People are so much more than their degrees.

When I was younger people always said that you can be whatever you want to be, but that doesn't seem as true today as it did then. Either that or I still don't know what I want to be yet. (which is highly likely) Not to mention, it seems very difficult to be what you want when so many things you want to be cost money. I've always heard that it takes money to make money, and we don't have a lot of money right now. How do you start your own business? How do I start a business without money? So many questions and not enough answers. One answer I do know is... I am more than my architecture degree.

"Life is too short to be unhappy"

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