Within the past few decades, the idea of the university has transformed drastically, from the perspectives of both students and professors. In a post-recession economy, a huge amount of pressure is put on young people to land well-paying jobs straight out of school, and with the current stigma of millennials as the boomerang generation, there is a lot expected of someone who has gone through years of education to be able to sustain themselves after graduation.
Because of this, the structure of the university has adapted to remain relevant and attractive to new students. Today, most universities promise an experience that will guarantee employment soon after graduation, adopting many hands-on practices previously exclusive to college environments. The focus now is to create jobs, which is very positive in itself. However, this is creating an issue with how young people view their post-secondary education.
The expectation from students that the duty of their university is to give them a job is deteriorating the fundamental aspect of school: learning. Students today are far more likely to blindly go through quizzes, tests, projects, and exams, simply to achieve a passing mark, and as a result, having learned nothing from the course. As long as they still get their degree, it no longer matters how they achieve that goal. This leads to major issues after graduation, since a Bachelor’s degree no longer truly promises thorough knowledge in any field.
More and more young people are entering the workforce not having sufficient knowledge of their field, despite having gone through years of education. However, a simple shift in perception could resolve this issue. Students need to understand that post-secondary education is not a job factory. It is the last opportunity for students to ask questions, make mistakes, and think critically about their career, before entering a professional work environment. If young people stopped looking at degree’s as free passes to six-figure salaries, they might learn to appreciate what their education could be for them. In the past, a university student did far more than show up to class, blindly take notes and leave in the hopes of skimming by with passable marks. It is incredibly important to connect with professors and fellow classmates in order to foster a deep understanding of any field of study. Be curious, be proactive, and be invested in your time at school.
In short, students should not go through their university careers with the notion that they are, in a sense, buying job security. The idea that universities have an obligation to guarantee job security needs to end. This is the time to absorb as much information as possible and hone one’s skills with the help of both professors and fellow students, and it is the duty of the university to provide students with the information they need. However, this means more than information found in textbooks and lecture slides. If young people demonstrate their drive to learn and push their skills to the limit while still in school, they have a far better chance of not only landing a job but holding onto it.