Up until this point in our lives, many of us have followed a very similar path toward where we are today – we work our way through school and work hard along the way – we do everything we can to graduate high school with an impressive GPA and plenty of extracurriculars. Why? To get into a great college, of course.
Then what? We keep up the hard work, burn the midnight oil, memorize our cheat sheets, and study our assess off, all while trying to balance our social life, party on the weekends, meet our soulmate, and survive on Ramen…and for what? To graduate and end up with the job of our dreams.
It’s the cycle that has been engraned in American Culture – it’s part of that old-school pursuit of the “American Dream” (that is rapidly changing – or in my opinion – no longer exists). My question is, after putting in so much hard work and effort – does it really mean anything? Once you’re in the “real world” does anyone really care what you did back in school? I’m not so sure.
A few months ago I wrote a post about why I’ll “never go back to school” – and I stand by that. Not because I think there is anything wrong with higher education, and I would never try to talk any of you out of pursuing what you want to do, AND I fully understand and appreciate the need for further education if you’re heading down certain career paths. That’s not what I’m getting at.
My point is that today, right now, if you take a look at my resume, the first 21 years of my life are condensed into one bullet point at the bottom of the page:
Not even a GPA listed – not because I’m ashamed, quite the contrary, I’m extremely proud of what I accomplished in college – I’m not hiding anything…but instead, it seems like no one cares.
When I was pursuing my first job after graduating, yes, I had more showing on my resume and my collegiate experiences were discussed much more during interviews – but when I moved up here to Chicago, having only one year of agency experience under my belt – college was never even brought up – there was no interest in anything I had done before stepping foot into the “real world” – now the first 20+ years of my life are no more than a footnote on the page.
Which begs the question, “Does college matter after you graduate”? Does our hard work mean squat after we’ve walked across the stage? Is it more of a personal pride thing as opposed to a professional requirement? Does it vary from industry to industry?
I’ve had conversations about this with several people recently and reached out to many on Twitter to crowdsource some thoughts. There’s no right or wrong, and clearly perspectives vary. Here’s what some of you had to say:
I hope we’ll be able to spark some interesting discussion and debate in the comments below…