Take career path less traveled

Just as Buddhism has its Eightfold Path to enlightenment, so there seems to exist, for most college graduates, a “Sixfold Path” to a career. According to an article by Andrew Yang on Quartz, a digital news outlet, these paths can be less satisfying than this analogy suggests.

Fifty percent of graduates from top colleges between 2008 and 2013 ended up going into consulting, finance, law, medicine, Teach for America or graduate school. The popularity of these options would suggest that certain fulfillment lies at their ends.

Unemployment, however, ravages those in these areas, so why do students persist in these directions when they may be more likely to find jobs in other fields?

Part of the reason is that these paths are easily navigable. They offer a tangible goal and a means to attain it. Any student can figure out, for example, how to apply to graduate school. Learning how to start your own business, on the other hand, can seem daunting.

UM offers certain institutional resources to aid students in career planning, but the Toppel Career Center often seems to cater to students embarking on the more traditional paths. It could benefit students more, for example, by bringing them into contact with more local businesses, where they may gain hands-on experience in their area of interest, rather than steering them into big corporations and distant graduate schools.

But there is another wealth of knowledge that all students can benefit from: professors.

Professors will be much more familiar with their subject matter than, say, advisers. Moreover, students can more easily develop a personal relationship with professors who have open office hours than with an adviser struggling to meet the needs of hundreds of different students.

Straying from the Sixfold Path requires initiative. It requires a vision of an ultimate goal and the open-mindedness to consider various methods of arriving there. Above all, it requires a student to accept the scary possibility of a future full of shadows, without a singular illuminated track.

But if you do choose to chart your own way, remember that you don’t have to go it alone.

Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial board.

October 1, 2014


Editorial Board

The Miami Hurricane

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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly on Thursdays during the regular academic year.