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Being part of the social media generation, media has irrevocably shaped my view regarding careers. Everywhere everyday we see people of all ages becoming internet sensations. The way they are portrayed in the media makes it look as if you just need to have that one special something, and seize the opportunistic moment to let the world see a glimpse of that, and – you’re in. YouTube, Instagram and Vine are the platforms that many of these people start with. They make it look so easy, like anyone could do it. Like they should do it.

I am someone who finished school last year, and am in a gap year before I attend college. There is little chance that I plan to skip college because that’s what I have been taught to do. But my perception on why I am going to college continues to change, which only makes me more ambitious in regards to my higher education.

Coming from a Taiwanese family, education is undeniably one of our top priorities. Most of our parents and ancestors have suffered to earn a good living; thus, they want to relieve such hardship on us by encouraging us to pursue education that will enable us to have stable living conditions.

But with jobs arising from the use of social media, I started to question whether I really needed university to have a career. I could do my own startup and find my audience through YouTube or whichever social media site I prefer. I just have to find that niche, and I can do something I love for the rest of my life. I constantly think about this, because, how can I not? That’s how the media is portraying the lives of many people my age. Of course, the idea of becoming an internet sensation (for a talent that I don’t have) does not appeal to my personality. But it often keeps me thinking.

If so many people can earn a stable, or even luxurious, lifestyle without earning a degree, then why do so many people continue to attend college and build up a decade of debt?

The answer can be pretty obvious.

  1. It’s the safest path. Finish school, attend college, earn a degree, apply for a job – and you’re set!
  2. Though technology is changing the way we live, most of us resort to traditional career paths, because – hey, that’s how the rest is pursuing their careers.
  3. Most existing jobs are not media-centered.
  4. Unless you pursue a media/arts centered career, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to earn a living doing what you love.

I don’t think I am going to college for any of these reasons. I am going to college because I love the idea of opening my mind to new knowledge and learning in such environment. I love the idea of exploring deeply a subject that I am passionate about and enabling my mind to make more insightful connections with the way I see the world.

I plan to major in Psychology, but I don’t plan to be a Psychologist. This is likely because I also plan to pursue a Masters (and/or MBA) in a more specific area. But because I am part of this generation where everyone is breaking the 9-5 work days rule, I do not plan to have a traditional work life and settle down.

I want to go to university for knowledge, and hopefully that knowledge will light up a bulb in my mind and something career-focused and amazing can happen. And if I end up in a traditional job, as long as that is what I ultimately want, then that’s fine too.

What’s your perception on attending university? Do you plan to pursue a career that you studied or will study in college, or do you have other plans?

1 Comment

  1. Thank you so much for this post. I can completely relate to our generation wanting to break out of the 9-5 cycle of work. University is definitely a wonderful place to expand knowledge and learn. Interestingly, I dropped out of University after 2 years. It’s a long and private story in some ways, but it made me realise that there are many other ways to pursue our dreams.