The job market is constantly changing. Fields come and go. Career fields that were lucrative only a few years ago become oversaturated or obsolete due to changing laws and technology.
Like in nature, the individuals who are most adaptable succeed. As jobs and society become more complex, individuals in the modern workforce are expected to bear a wider variety of skills. There is no better time to begin gaining valuable experiences than while in college.
For most people, regardless of family or financial situation, college and young adulthood is the time when people are able to assume the most risk.
There are countless organizations to get involved in, opportunities for leadership and volunteerism and, most importantly, a time when students are able to take lower paying jobs in totally different fields.
The greatest mistake a college student can make is to lock themselves entirely into a specific field or interest. College’s greatest value is the opportunity to find a passion and develop skills which a person otherwise would not have the opportunity to learn.
A student may be a chemistry major that decides to take a marketing and business internship.
Another student may be an English major, but sign up for a policy internship. Someone could be an education major and get involved in student government.
While all the positions may not be directly related to a certain career field, every experience gained may prove extremely valuable in future pursuits.
For example, the English major with public policy experience may find work writing grants for a non-profit organization.
The education major with leadership experience may have the confidence and experience to pursue higher paying leadership positions within their school system.
The chemistry major with business experience could discover a new interest and end up pursuing graduate degrees in economics and finance. Disclaimer: that is exactly what happened to me.
In addition to the skills a person may gain outside their major, they should not discount the skills they can gain within their major.
For example, science majors bear strong quantitative and analytical skills which are extremely desirable in the workplace.
The ability to read and write well that is developed in English or literature degrees is extremely relevant in almost every career field.
The creativity of art majors can be used to craft campaigns, new products or simply push entrepreneurial initiatives.
Regardless of whether a person is studying financial engineering or underwater basket weaving, he or she will develop skills which can be applied in many different areas.
Internships, degrees and leadership experience are all extremely valuable.
However, the most important skill a person can gain in college is a willingness to get out of comfort zones, learn new skills, network and assume risk.
The world is constantly changing, but a person who is willing to learn and adapt will never go hungry. We are the masters of our own fates.