Of Puppies and Ponds
Outside of Ohio Stadium before last weekend’s Homecoming game, two young students had set up a pen full of puppies. To say they drew the attention of passing fans would be an understatement! I stopped as well, unable to resist the pull of a wiggling puppy. I asked one of the girls what they were doing and she informed me that these puppies were future service dogs and that they were in charge of training them. The girls were both students in the Animal Science department who were specializing in training service animals. Most of the puppies were being trained to help detect the epileptic seizures of their future owners. These dogs could literally save someone’s life!
What a cool major and a rewarding career, I thought to myself that these two ladies are getting into. It also, once again, got me thinking about many of today’s college students. I wonder how many of them going to school now will be able to do something with their degree that they feel a sense of pride and accomplishment with?
Unfortunately I suspect very few.
Call me a scrooge or a pessimist but never have our universities been less effective at preparing students for the real world than they are today. I couldn’t imagine anyone, outside maybe a University President, even trying to debate that point with me. How could they when less than 15% of graduates who spend their time and in particular money, earning a degree end up in a field related to their studies?! Each year as tuition goes up, the percentages of people landing jobs related to their majors goes down. This isn’t only the fault of our universities though. Kids today, in general, know less what they want to do with their lives than any previous generation of graduates. If you don’t know what you want it’s a lot harder to find what you’re looking for.
What most people would agree they want is to find something that they could do that would make them happy. Agreed? But even on the rare occasion a college student might know what that was in their late teens or early 20’s, there’s the little problem of whether that major or career would be able to pay the bills. Money and the pursuit of it is a strong driver in what pursuits people would even consider doing. Puppy trainer might register high on people’s happiness meter, but most certainly not very high on the wage scale. At 30k or more a year, entering the workforce being six figures in debt, makes pursuing many college majors financially prohibitive.
My Interpersonal Communication degree was not necessary in my pursuit for building ponds. One could argue that the experiences getting a degree were valuable in preparing me for success with my future endeavors. I would agree, but only to a point. When I went to school it cost about half to a quarter of what it costs today to earn a degree! That makes education today an expensive life lesson for those simply going through the motions on getting a degree to land a “good” job. God forbid that “good” job only pays the bills and doesn’t provide happiness.
Being happy with what you do, regardless of what you do, should be the pursuit of every student. I also hope everyone is blessed to be a life-long student who pursues passions that make them happy. I was happy building ponds and I’m even happier helping other people build ponds and businesses along the way.
The pond business has been good to me. I suspect the puppy business will be good for these fortunate young ladies who have found a passion to pursue. I hope you have a passion you’re pursuing too, because life is simply too short to be doing something that only pays the bills. Agreed?