By rushing into traditional paths, we’re missing a whole world of opportunities, the author says.
Graduate high school, go to college. Graduate college, get a job. Or go to grad school. If you don’t … shame on you.
There are obvious pressures to get a job and find financial stability — and to do so as soon as possible.
We’re afraid of missing job opportunities, but by rushing into traditional paths, we’re missing a whole world of opportunities.
Some brave, benevolent graduates choose different options after college. Their futures seem pretty bright, too.
Take Lenny Luckman, who just graduated from University of Miami with a major in finance, but this fall, he won’t be sitting in a cubicle working for a big-name bank.
He’ll be educating underprivileged kids in a special education classroom as part of Teach for America.
In fact, he gave up a full-time job offer at a bank before even deciding to apply for the program.
Working in finance “was really exciting and cool, but I realized it’s not my calling,” Luckman said. “Teach for America is not just a career, it’s a movement. It’s meaningful to work with these kids.”
He’s currently going through a six-week training while at a high school in the Bronx, N.Y.
“It’s unreal — actually unreal. I have students in 10th-grade biology that are on a 4th-grade reading level,” he said. “It’s sad, but also empowering.”
Luckman explained that the program is setting him up to be a leader and he has job and internship connections for his future, whether he stays in the teaching industry or not.
Handling a classroom translates into real-life leadership skills.
“You’re the leader in your classroom, you’re the CEO of your classroom,” he said.
The perks seem to be in his service, though.
“You’re young, you’re 22. Now is the time to do something that’s meaningful, still make money, that’ll make a difference,” Luckman said. “When you’re 24, you can look at that.”
Similarly, Ravdeep Jaidka took an uncommon path after graduating from Cornell University in 2011 with a degree in human development and a minor in global health. She now works as a HealthCorps coordinator at a high school in Brooklyn, N.Y., combating childhood obesity.
Jaidka instructs various classes on nutrition, fitness and mental resilience for students and staff, offering them insight into a healthier lifestyle. She acts as a role model and a mentor in the community.
“During my senior year of college, I realized I had all this knowledge I had learned over the four years, and I wanted to apply that knowledge in the real world,” Jaidka said.
“There is pressure from parents, society and professors to head towards a traditional path, whether that be graduate school or a job in your prospective career,” she said. “For this reason, non-traditional paths are sometimes viewed as a deterrent or a couple of wasted years.”
She said she does plan on going to graduate school and in no way sees her work in HealthCorps as a setback.
“It is important to think of these experiences as a period of growth. Not only was my experience in HealthCorps extremely rewarding, but it lead to a tremendous amount of growth and understanding about my interests, talents and competency,” she said.
Why stick to the norm?
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