Four years, three summer sessions and about a quarter of a million dollars later, I’m finally graduating in May.
I’ll admit, I don’t really have a plan and I don’t know what’s going to happen.
In about a month, I’ll be graduating with a degree in political science, which I don’t plan on using.
And after all that money, time and effort I’ll be going to live at home, with no job lined up.
But I’m not worried.
And it’s not the end of the world, although my mom acts like it is every time she calls.
I’m not worried because I’ve taken classes that are fun and interesting to me, and internships that I’ve learned so much from, even though they don’t count toward my degree.
I’ve used my time in school to study and work in Paris and London and take classes in a range of subjects.
These classes have led me to want to find a career in international journalism and use French, a subject that I thought I’d never use after those four intro classes.
Maybe I’ll use my degree as I travel and experience different political climates.
Maybe I’ll just use it every four years when the whole country pretends it’s actually interested in politics.
Whatever the case may be, I’m graduating. And for once I’ll be thankful for all those general requirements Baylor made me finish and classes professors encouraged me to take.
Because without them, I wouldn’t be forced to explore different subjects that I ended up loving and that I never thought I could make a career in.
While spending last semester in London caused me to put off applying to grad school, I’m glad I made that sacrifice.
Studying and working internationally at a magazine is something that allowed me to gain real work experience, get published for the first time and finally choose what I want to do in the future.
Working for The Baylor Lariat has allowed me to communicate with diverse people, handle adverse situations and produce content that I’m proud of.
So when I graduate, I’ll have work experience that’s actually applicable to my field, which seems to be what many employers look for now, not a degree.
If there’s anything I’m worried about, it’s paying off my student loans. But since I’ve spent my time at Baylor gaining experience, I’m confident I’ll have a job and be accepted to a graduate program not long after May.
Don’t be worried if, like me, you’re graduating with a degree that you don’t plan on using. Instead, use your time to gain experience in the field you want, even if it’s not paid, and take more classes that you might have the slightest interest in.
You’ll either find something that you love, realize you don’t want to follow the path you’re on now, or end up having a well rounded education.
Either way, you’ll benefit from it and won’t be stuck wondering what to do after graduation.
Shannon Barbour is a senior political science major from Harbor City, Calif. She is a reporter and regular columnist for the Lariat.