Go to College, Hippy

So earlier today on Facebook, a friend of mine posted about this article, lamenting about how this did not make him feel good about the idea of leaving his current, lame job.

First of all, I don’t understand why Craigslist is currently the platform for social experiments.* Craiglist Joe and now this? What happened to social experiments in the middle of the street with a camcorder?

(*Also, the Craigslist Killer, if you think murder = social experiment)

Secondly, I think this is a bit of a poor example of how things are currently. The writer created his fake posting in New York City. Cue the hot sauce commercial: “NEW YORK CITY?!” Because seriously. Let’s use one of the most densely populated spots in the country, a place where the number of jobs people need are multiplied by the size of their family and the apartment they live in (squared) and that’s the statistical garbage pool you’re dealing with.

Anyway.

So, the conversation sparked a response by one of my Facebud’s younger friends about to head off into the wild blue sea of undergrads to get a degree in Computer Science. He explained how he was frustrated, frightened and confused about his job prospects as well as the idea of going to college and accruing debt. The following is my response. Take it as you will. I’ll title it, “Let’s All Calm the Eff Down, Shall We?”

I am on the opposite side of your spectrum: I am five years out of college with a Bachelor’s Degree in English and a minor in Writing. I wanted to use it to write, not teach. And I am currently doing that; I have several books I’m working on and I’m doing freelance with a blog on the side. However…I’m also doing a 9-5 job at a large health care provider.

Going to college is a great experience and one that you should go through. It may not seem like it now, but trust me, you will have get so much from it. If you play your cards right, you have a chance to make some serious connections and plan for the future — network with teachers (realize that they are valuable resources and not just authority figures you’re handing in homework to), do internships, visit your career center, get a job on campus and make an impression.

As for afterwards – and I don’t know how the world is going to be by the time you have your degree – I’m not going to lie to you. You may have to get comfortable with the fact that you’ll have some debt. It’s not the end of the world. That being said, though, you should also accept that there is a decent chance you will not find a job in the area for which you went to school (hopefully not if you do all those things above, but still — there’s a chance). The best thing is to figure out what job is going to make you the least insane (for me, it’s puzzle-y work and manual type-y stuff) and grab it and stay there. Pay the bills and keep looking and – most importantly – don’t let your day job define you. Introduce yourself as a computer wizard or whatever; just that admission to yourself that that is who you are will do wonders while you’re waiting for the good times. Plug along and eventually you’ll be where you want to be.

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