Mind the Gap is this weekly challenge from WordPress and the prompt really got me thinking. I’ll be writing about it here.
Anyway, the prompt or challenge or whatever you wanna call it was about how we perceive things and try them, but they never quite turn out as pictured or expected. That’s the gap, as the prompt calls it.
This got me thinking about college. Oh boy, another Chas Rad college was a waste post!
Not today, though I do feel like I did waste my life in college. Today I’m just going to talk about how I see going to college to get a good job created this gap for me, and probably a bunch of other people too.
When I was a young’n, my ma would always say “You’re gonna go to college and you’ll get a really good job and you’ll say ‘Thanks ma!'” This idea was not only hammered in by my ma, but by teachers growing up as well, more specifically high school guidance counselors.
I’ll get to them in a bit.
First, this kind of thing starts small. As a really young kid, I was given this book where one of the parts was on jobs. Of course, me being the comedian I am said “I wanna be a burglar!” Technically, I wasn’t wrong about that.
The same went for school. Teachers inspired us to think about what we wanted to become when we grew up like a fireman or astronaut. My one friend wanted to be an engineer like his grandfather. Me, I just wanted to go home and play Pokemon Red.
As we got older, courses got a little more complex. I dabbled with the idea of becoming a teacher since I’m was pretty much as smart as a sack of potatoes in school and never understood anything unless a teacher was really good at making me understand. These kinds of teachers ended up being English or Language Arts teachers by the time I reached high school.
High school dawned the time of the false hope of guidance counselors. Sure, mine knew my name and seemed to take a keen interest in my studies. I respect that. It takes a lot of effort to truly care or at least pretend to care about at least 50 students. Then came senior year where the guidance counselors were pushing college or the military. Thankfully, my guidance counselor realized I would make a terrible soldier/marine/sailor/cadet/whatever so she pushed college to me. I knew from the beginning that my ma wanted me to go to college so I just kind of accepted that I’d be off to it. All my friends were. They were applying like crazy in November while I was just trying to learn the viola and play Rock Band. My guidance counselor was very angry with me. I didn’t end up applying to a school until April. I only applied to one and thankfully (somehow) got accepted.
Finally, college. This is where I’d learn how to become smart and get a good job, right?
College was basically high school part two, except everyone feels more independent there. I just went through the motions and tried my best in class to graduate. I did. Then it was off to the real world.
It turns out that the real would doesn’t give a sod if you graduated or were president of the “Lakes Are Cool Too!” club. What matters is experience. I worked throughout college and high school, but this is not enough. At first, I wanted a job as a writer for maybe some video game company. That seemed fair, right? I graduated with a degree in English and I like video games. Sounds like a plan.
Except I lack the 5 years of experience in a professional writing environment and wouldn’t even be considered.
What am I saying? Let’s get to the gap thing. Yes.
So, there’s this idea that college=good job as kids, but it doesn’t turn out that way. No. I graduated and I work two part-time jobs. Are they good? Well, they keep the Drink Reaction posts going, so I’m as content as I can be. It is absolutely a far cry from me thinking I was gonna be writing the lore for Overwatch or something like that.
That’s the gap. What they SHOULD tell kids is that “you should go to college and HOPE for a good job.”
Actually, even better would be “You don’t have to go to college at all! You can go to trade school!”
If I had to describe my gap with a delicious cake, I’d say that the whole idea of going to college is like a beautiful cake you’d see on the Food Network. You then follow, uh, Duff Goldman’s recipe on how to make it, but since you don’t know squat about fondant or how to mix food dyes, it ends up being a lopsided reddish-brown looking cake that probably has a few eggshells in it still.
I’m not saying college didn’t help me at all in finding a job, but it sure as heck didn’t help with a career yet. It has taught me a few valuable things like I really shouldn’t keep my expectations so high and the job market of college graduates is so saturated that if it were a food the saturated fat count would be crazy high.
Anyway, that’s really it. Being a college graduate kind of sucks, but the most important lesson I’ve learned over the years is that I can’t let it keep me down.