The Real World vs The Taught World

Throughout our educational years, we have been taught by our instructors that we can become whomever we want to be, we can achieve any dream we wish to achieve, and we can have anything we want to have. Our educators encourage us to dream big, to never give up, and to strive for success by reaching the top of the ladder in society with hard work and dedication. We are pre-programmed to think the recipe to make our dreams a reality is a dose of perseverance, an ounce of faith, and a smidgen of determination is all that’s needed to make them come true…along with a good, quality education of course. But the one thing that is not taught is the fact that our perception of how things SHOULD be and the reality of how things WILL be are two separate entities, that if ignored, is the recipe for disappointment.

The depressing reality is: half of today’s college graduates are working in jobs that are not in their chosen field or may be overqualified for, are making less money than what they’re worth, and are sacrificing a majority of their hard-earned income into repaying student loans for an occupation they were told would put a substantial amount of money in their pockets in order to cover their post-education expenses. In a 2012 McKinsey & Company survey, along with the collaboration of Chegg, Inc., 4,900 college graduates expressed their regrets of what they envisioned reality to be like after four years of higher learning. 48% of U.S. college graduates were employed in jobs that did not require a four-year degree while 32% of graduates were actually working in their field of expertise. Out of the 72% of college graduates who were required to complete an internship in their chose field of study, only 42% reported their internships have landed them a job. This means either 30% of these college graduates were either out of work or underemployed.

As the competition stiffens within the workforce, so does the number of available jobs for college graduates decrease. Of course, this all depends on one’s major, with the visual and performing arts being the most difficult to break into while science, engineering, and technology provide the most satisfactory results for job seekers. But with today’s economy, even choosing the “right” major still does not guarantee a stable job. Higher education institutions overlook this fact when promoting idealizations of reality in exchange for a signed promissory note. What appears to be achievable through hard work, dedication, and persistence is not always what will be attainable in the end.

©2013 Learus Ohnine

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The Promise of Summer

Out of the 4 seasons of the year, summer is the one that seems to be the most anticipated. Families plan memorable vacations to unknown or familiar territories. Those working within the construction, landscaping, or any of the outdoor-related occupations are sure to have big smiles throughout the entire duration of the season as favorable weather permits them to line their pockets with extra cash. Many teachers look forward to taking that long paid break from the classroom, while students from all educational levels have a chance to either get ahead on their studies or catch up on what they’ve already missed throughout the previous school year.

There’s a psychological transformation that takes place with the anticipation of the upcoming summer months each year, usually right after the winter holidays. Most of us begin an exercise regimen that puts us in a frame of mind to achieve a desired physique by the time we want to wear our favorite summer outfits. Financial preparation for our vacation expenses normally begins anywhere from weeks to months after the previous summer season is over or prior to the new one beginning. This could mean anywhere from picking up a second job or to adhering to a tighter budget plan. Students spend more time studying during the final semester before summer begins in order to eliminate having to use a majority of their time off in summer school. Depending on one’s occupation, refresher courses help with the transition back into the workforce or courses are completed with the sole purpose of qualifying for a promotion.

So what about the lessons learned from summers of the past? Those annoying flight layovers at the airport on the way to a vacation destination can be used to one’s advantage with just a little imagination and careful scheduling coordination. While speaking of imagination, exploring various indoor facilities for entertainment and enjoyment ahead of time can offset disappointment when the summer weather does not always turn as favorable as expected to enjoy the outdoors. Deciding which goals are most important can help free up a lot more time in order to get the most out of summer fun, such as deciding whether or not catching each and every episode of your favorite nighttime drama television series at the moment it airs is more important than spending that time taking a much needed night class at your local community college instead of having to take it over the summer months.

No matter how we choose to spend our time, our money, or utilize our resources, there’s nothing like entering the summer months psychologically prepared to enjoy it to its fullest.

©2013 Learus Ohnine