Here we are, preparing to graduate from a great university with all our GPA’s, Dean’s List certificates, club memberships and other such accomplishments, but does it ever occur to anyone that about a gazillion other people have the same foundation we do – if not better?
Sure, we’re in the small (though steadily increasing) percentage of American citizens seeking and obtaining college degrees, however, this qualification also thrusts us into the small, (though steadily increasing) spectrum of job applicants at the level of industry to which we’ll be applying. Are connections everything, or, is it possible that there is something else much more difficult to master besides shaking a few hands and making a phone call or two? What will differentiate you from the rest of your peers? Not your credentials. We’ve all got some of those. And I’m sorry to tell you, but that dazzling GPA you’ve spent years cultivating through tears, all-nighters and groveling isn’t going to cut it either.
When it comes down to who will succeed and who won’t, attitude makes all the difference. I can’t tell you how many professional speakers have said, “We don’t even care what you majored in.” In the long run, all that matters is what you take with you when you leave.
No one wants to hire someone they perceive to be a threat to their own job. If you treat a potential employer like they should be bending over backwards to snatch you up before someone else does, you might just find yourself a very unemployed person with a framed college degree on the wall of your bedroom, instead of that new corner office you’d planned on.
So get off your degree-induced high horse. Don’t just assume that all you have to do is flash your few, petty credentials and employers will be fawning over you, because that degree won’t look much different from all the others, sitting in the ceiling-high pile of applications on their desk
Be proud of your accomplishments, but present them with sincere enthusiasm, rather than precocious presumption, because I can guarantee, they’re probably not as impressive as you think.
College has equipped us with all the necessary tools and enough unnecessary information that we could all star on Jeopardy, but until we put the adage of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness into a more contemporary perspective, that nice corner office with the big desk and the bronze-framed diploma on the wall will be occupied by somebody who has.
Whitney Friedrich is a senior majoring in advertising and English.