Work experience stumps degree

When we are growing up, everyone tells us we need to go to college so we can get a job, but is it still that simple?

After my five semesters spent at Southern Miss, it seems like most college students fall into one of two categories. Either your major requires you to get a graduate level degree to have any real chance at a job or gaining experience is really what your potential employers are looking for. If that is the case, you basically have to get some sort of job in your field while you are still learning about your field. No one told us about this when growing up.

Considering most of us have already been in school for 12 years before we even got to college, the idea of having to go to more school after the standard four years it takes to get a bachelor’s degree is a little discouraging. When Aaron Bermond, a sophomore psychology major, was asked what he would do with a bachelor’s degree, he said basically nothing.

“Well with a bachelor’s degree, the main places I would be employed at would be under another researcher until I get my feet wet,” Bermond said. “No university or research program will really want another researcher who doesn’t have at least a master’s degree. Anywhere I would apply wouldn’t really care about my application with only a bachelor’s degree.”

If it is getting to the point where we need to go to school for so many years, can someone work on making college more affordable? My soul cries just a little bit when I think of student loans that people would have to face after graduate school.

So does that mean people who don’t have to go to graduate school have it better off? Not necessarily, because not going to graduate school means we have to do the same amount of work, just in a shorter amount of time. While this route does not hurt the wallet as much, it can still be rather stressful.

Sophomore Emily Stokley is confident she has chosen a good field to go into after graduation as an interior design major.

“It’s a pretty competitive field, but it’s grown a lot since the end of the recession,” Stokley said. “If you think about it, every house and building you’ve ever seen, someone had to have designed it. It’s a good field to go into.”

While Stokley may not be out looking for an interior design job right now, she still has to gain her experience by spending twice as many hours in class as most students do for the same amount of credit as everyone else.

“We have studio classes, three hour credit, six hours in class per week,” Stokley said. “Last semester, I was in class 26 hours a week. It’s rough.”
Many students are not as fortunate as Stokley to be able to only need class experience for their field. While junior Zachary Thomas does have the opportunity to gain experience for his recording industry management major by working with South City Records (SCR), the campus recording studio, it is still a big responsibility to take on for the average college student.

“The employers in my job field aren’t focused on advanced degrees. They’re more focused on your experience level,” Thomas said.

“I wouldn’t have a hard time balancing just school and SCR. I have a difficult time balancing a 14-hour course load, SCR and a 35-hour part-time job. I also like to spend time with my girlfriend, friends and family. You know, all the normal college stuff people do. It’s extremely difficult,” he said.

All of this can be too much for a student to handle. We are expected to deal with a full-time course load and still have a social life. But, we have to either worry about getting experience or saving money for graduate school.

If so many people entering the workforce have bachelor’s degrees now, meaning that people need to have something more to stand out, maybe they should consider making college cheaper and less demanding.

It would be nice to know I’m not working this hard to possibly just end up as a cashier.