As college years pass us by, the impending doom that is the job market approaches. As students with generic B.A.s from Harpur College, there’s reason to be dismayed, especially when we’re up against graduates from specialty programs in more prestigious universities. But not having trade-specific schools may not actually hold us back, but instead make us unique and even set us apart. Being thrown into the liberal arts pool makes us more individual, more club-driven and a more responsible student body. Job market, get at us.
Regardless of your college or major, nothing is guaranteed. That being said, students in Harpur with anxiety about the future should fear not. Or at least fear less. You’re doing more to prepare yourself than you think. While at other schools, students learn from advisors and from professors with industry experience, at Binghamton University we learn from our clubs, from our peers and from ourselves.
Take Robyn Adele, whose rise to YouTube fame is profiled in Release this issue. She’s found success as a singer but didn’t major in voice at BU. She was a political science and Arabic major. In fact, she tells students that your major doesn’t dictate your career: “To anyone planning on pursuing a career in singing/stage performing, all I can say is that you don’t need a degree in those things to be famous on YouTube! Training is helpful, but a degree is not necessary.”
Or flip to the news section and read about senior Rebecca Rosen, who is applying for graduate school to pursue a degree in education. Despite the fact that BU doesn’t have an education major, Rosen said she feels prepared for her advanced studies, citing extracurriculars like the Johnson City Mentor Program and SUNY Kids as giving her sufficient experience with children to make up for a lack of formal educational training.
And, of course, many of our editors and writers pursuing a journalism career compensate for the University’s lack of a program by working for Pipe Dream. We’ve all gained invaluable skills covering campus news without even the aid of a faculty advisor, experience that has helped many current members and alumni secure internships and, ultimately, jobs in the industry.
Every semester, Frank Roessner, one of BU’s rhetoric professors, tells the story of a Northwestern University journalism grad who quit the Press & Sun-Bulletin one of her first days on the job because she didn’t know how to write a story on deadline. She graduated from one of the country’s elite journalism programs, but she didn’t have the necessary experience to survive outside the classroom.
Here, we have a few journalism classes and nothing else. But because of Pipe Dream, we have have newsroom experience before entering a professional newsroom, which is more valuable than four years at a communications school. For many students, there is only learning about the hands-on work that we’re actually doing now.
Our Student Association groups are student-run, allowing students to learn how to handle millions of dollars in budgets and lead peers. Our students dictate the campus landscape and what our college experience is like. We plan the concerts and run the biggest campus events, and in doing so we are responsible for our own actions.
That being said, our clubs make up for the fact that we can bullshit our way through our classes. But that’s just another thing that makes our school so unique. If you’re in Harpur and worried about your prospects post-graduation, getting more involved now may be your answer. It certainly isn’t switching into our communications program.