But even if I’m not ready to start new, healthy habits, it’s always a good time to bail on things that are making our lives harder. So, in that spirit, I want to share three ideas about college and career that I’m no longer buying into, and I hope you’ll join me.
A humanities major is not practical.
I’ve tackled this one a number of times, and I will undoubtedly keep coming back to this topic, at least until the number of philosophy majors starts going back up again. But the idea that an entire swath of our intellectual arc is useless seems obviously untrue. What is true is that the line from a humanities major to a specific career is less direct, less obvious. But that also means that you can take that major in many different directions, combining your critical thinking and communication skills with your interest in politics or food or entertainment, whatever you really care about.
The college you go to will determine how successful you are in the future.
It is a truth universally acknowledged by college admissions professionals that it does not matter where you go to college, but rather what you do when you get there. This is so broadly accepted by people in my field that I feel cliché even typing that statement out. But I have to remind myself that this is new information for a lot of students and families. And this is not just my opinion; this argument is supported by numerous studies and experts in the field. For more information, I’d encourage you to check out the white paper from Challenge Success, A “Fit” Over Rankings.
It’s too late to [fill in the blank].
In the almost three years that I’ve been working on this series, it has become increasingly clear to me that it is never too late – for anything. You can always change your major, transfer to a different college, get an advanced degree, get another advanced degree, learn a new skill, and take a left (or right! Or U!) turn. That doesn’t mean you don’t have to put thought into your choices or do research to find the right fit for you or plan ahead. You do. But if you find yourself in the wrong program or the wrong city or the wrong job, you can change course and find something that works better for you.