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This is mostly directed to people in or finished with college, as I am now. I guess other people can answer it, although I don't know how they'd have experience to answer any of it. First a general story...

I went to two high schools as well (the first closed down my Junior year and so I spent my Senior year somewhere I didn't want to be in apathy). They were college prep, but I honestly don't feel like any real attempt was made to prepare any of us for our future. A lot of references to college were concerned with how "new" and "scary" and "difficult" it would be in a multitude of different words. I've not really found it to be very much different, aside from more freedom and less idiocy on the part of the students (but that's debatable at the places I've gone to).

We were given some brochures and this one guy would mail off our applications, but it really feels like a lot of it ended there. Maybe this is because I was a new Senior at the school, but I don't really know.

I've gone to two colleges at this point. The first was Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. I knew little about the place other than that they supposedly had a decent computer program... The main reason was just to get away from everything for awhile. In that it succeeded, because I wound up hating the place (I'm not a party guy, you have to be there). I found lots of excuses not to go to class, some as ridiculous as the fact that it was raining outside. I failed everything except for speech, which I got an A in. As you can tell, I actually liked that class.

Anyway, afterwards I wound up at IADT, which is more or less a design school. I took the computer/interactive media end... Basically, they "teach" you how to do audio production, video production, websites, graphics, etc. I put that in quotes because, although it's been getting much better recently in that aspect, I really learned next to nothing there. A lot of my design skills were just inheirant or self-taught in some way. Still, I'm at the Bachelors level in that.

I know I have some decent abilities, but I don't feel that I know enough to really be as good as what I want to do as I should be. I think I have a good design sense and am certainly capable of technical things, but definitely not at the level I think I should be. There's this really large fear I have that I'm not going to be marketable at all with the level of things I've learned in school.

At the same time, I look at some of the stuff people actually get paid to do and wind up feeling a lot better about myself. And really, when can I ever really know enough? There's always something else out there. Sometimes I think I don't even want to stick with computers at all though. Can I really see myself sitting at a screen the rest of my life? Sometimes I feel like I'd be better off working with animals, but it's kind of late for that.

I'm tired of feeling like I'm the only one in this situation. Everyone else I personally know seems to have some good feel as to what they're going after and what they're capable of. I feel more lost know than I did when I was first trying to pick out colleges when I was in high school. I feel like I'm too old to even be thinking about these things anymore, but I've got at least another 50 years to live if I'm lucky. Another large part of me hates the fact that I have to live within this structurized machine in the first place. There's just so many contradictions within everything.

What I'm getting at is, really, how happy are people where they are in terms of schooling? Did you really bother to research ahead of time as much as you should have? Do you feel like you've actually learned enough in school to get the job you want (or will by the time you're done with your current plan, anyway)? Do you think you'll have to go somewhere else later?
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[FONT=book antiqua][SIZE=2][COLOR=blue]Wow, yes, YES! I think everyone feels that way. When I first came to college, they showed us an examination that was supposed to be how much we should know by our junior year. It was insane: duodenum this, quanta of that.

I thought, "no problem, that's why I'm here." Lo and behold, here I am, and I'm oh-so uncomfortable about what I know.

Anyway, I'm trying to become a doctor, so I thought we would need to know a great amount of medical material by the end of college. Believe it or not, you only need to know the [U][B]basics[/B][/U] of math, science, and english to get into med school. Actually learning med stuff comes when you get into med school, heh.

The point is, standards are pretty low. In my case, I'm talking about stuff that is touched on in high school, and just built upon in college. General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, High School Biology, Algebra (no calculus!), etc. I was shocked, but at the same time, it showed that I didn't know the basics as well as I thought I did.

Anyway, the point I'm getting at is, like me, you have a goal that's probably much higher than what society has set as "the bar." I'm not satisfied with that level of knowledge, and I have to wonder how professors and grad students can be that intellectual, all-knowing, and wise when I'm still so behind.

I'm also waiting for that epiphany, haha. I hope that made any sense and is on the topic at hand. ^^;[/COLOR][/SIZE][/FONT]
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Before I went to college I thought I had everything under control. I got in the university I wanted and the major I dreamed of getting was already waiting for me. I was supposed to take something like your computer/interactive media thing, but then along the way I started considering about a lot of things and ended up majoring in Information Technology/Systems.

It wasn't that bad and I fully realized that after reading jblessing's myO once. My major will allow me to be more flexible when getting a job and I get to learn stuff about business. The thing is though, I don't think I'll enjoy an IT job. I certainly don't want to face a computer for the rest of my life. I'm even starting to hate coding and I don't want to work in a managerial position.

So uh...you're not alone, lol. I believe that I won't be utilizing almost 70% of what I learned in school. I might start with a job along the lines of my major but I don't think I'm going to pursue a career in it. I also don't think that learning stops at college. I mean.. there are always new things to learn in any field so you don't stop learning if you don't want to be left behind.

Oh, and it's never too late for anything. You've got 50 years to start learning and working with animals. Don't waste it doing something you don't want.^_~ [/SIZE][/COLOR]
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[quote name='Semjaza Azazel']What I'm getting at is, really, how happy are people where they are in terms of schooling?[/quote]

Well, I just started college back in September, so obviously I'm not very far along at all. But I am at least already taking some classes that are not only a part of my major, but are a pretty integral part of what I'd like to do after I finish school, which is to become a journalist. I'm not exactly jumping for joy about where I'm at in school, or anything, but it's gone decently well so far.

[quote]Did you really bother to research ahead of time as much as you should have?[/quote]

I probably didn't research quite as much as I could have, but I think that I did research enough to make a good decision on where I wanted to go. I visited a few campuses, got the whole college talk from representatives, etc. What ultimately factored most into my decision to go to the college I'm at right now is that the school is supposed to focus more on actually going out and getting experience in your major in various ways rather than just doing a bunch of research for classes, or whatever. The way that teachers made it sound, the UC schools are more research-oriented, and I wasn't really into that. Plus, the UC schools are more expensive than other state colleges, anyway.

[quote]Do you feel like you've actually learned enough in school to get the job you want (or will by the time you're done with your current plan, anyway)?[/quote]

Hopefully I will. I think that I'll learn enough to be able to fill in the gaps myself if need be. Obviously you'd like a college to teach you everything that you need to know, but I doubt that's the case at most places. A lot of it depends on me not just learning what I need to learn from my classes, but actually going out and getting the experience I need (from working for the school newspaper, getting internships, etc.).

[quote]Do you think you'll have to go somewhere else later?[/quote]

I don't know. I certainly hope that I won't have to go anywhere else, but you can never count out that possibility.

I also agree with you that college isn't really [i]that[/i] drastic a change from high school, at least not from what I've experienced so far. The amount of freedom you get at college is pretty refreshing, especially in terms of being able to set up your own schedule (as long as your classes aren't already snatched up, anyway...). I probably get about the same workload that I got from my senior year of high school, but it's just so much easier to manage here. But I don't have a job, or anything, so I have a lot of free time to do things lol.
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[color=indigo]I really think that my entire first degree was an almost entire waste of four years.

I say almost because I wouldn?t have the job that I have now without a degree. Not that my college degree has helped me perform any aspect of my job. I could do what I am doing right out of high school, no sweat. The problem is employers want to see that piece of paper stating that you paid your dues.

Now, I don?t think college is always a waste, especially for some fields like medicine and teaching, but I think the general business major, nine times out of ten, is going to school just to get a piece of paper, not viable training for a career.

I can also see how frustrating it could be if you knew what type of career you wanted and you knew that the schooling you were receiving was not really comprehensive of in depth enough to help you succeed in that career.

My second taste of college has been quite a bit more pleasant than my first. My classes are focused on what I need to learn to pursue a career in advertising. And, though the extra schooling wasn?t 100% necessary, I am glad I took the time to hone my skills in this fashion.

I guess my biggest regret is not being more thorough while looking into schools when I was graduating college. I probably should have taken a year or two off after high school and done the whole work/partying thing then to get it out of my system. I definitely wasn?t mature enough to handle it at the time.[/color]
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[FONT=book antiqua][SIZE=2][COLOR=blue]Heaven's Cloud, that was an interesting story. If you don't mind, I'm curious about two things:

1. Why did you go back to college? Was it for a different major or for the same?

2. Do you think it's worth it to go through college again, or are you just doing what you should have done the first time around?

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Unfortunately for me I was blind sided by an autoimmune disease (Rheumatoid Arthritis) so all the time I spend working towards my degree in vet med was for not. Even though I can no longer work in the career I studied for I wouldn't change anything I did. I loved the ride. College was fun and even silly things like getting lost in the cow barn while trying to get to a class was worth it. The time I spend in the career I studied for was well worth the time, money and effort.

Currently I am working towards becoming a freelance journalist. I can do my writing when my health allows me to write. I am not going back to college for any further degrees or anything. While in college I did take journalism classes and lots of english classes since I love writing. I did it mostly for fun. But now I am taking what I learned back then and applying it to my life now.

You never know what life is going to throw at you. Be prepared for anything.
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[size=1]At this point, I don't think I'm ever going to leave the school environment, and frankly I can't even fathom it. It's hard enough to believe that I'm almost already done with my second year. I feel like I haven't even done anything yet. I've had some good classes and some not so good ones, but I guess they all build up towards that degree in the end anyway.

I also plan to go to grad school, but for what exactly, I'm not yet sure. I'm majoring in English right now and it's the best decision I've ever made in terms of schooling. I [i]enjoy[/i] my classes, I like reading and doing the research and writing the papers, and I can't say the same for any of the other majors I've had and/or thought about. I imagine that by the end of my four years I'll have narrowed down that general "English" major to something with more of a focus, like Shakespeare or Short Stories or British Literature or something. I want a Masters at this point because I feel like it's becoming increasingly important to continue onto grad school in order to get a good job and it'll definitely look good when applying for said job, but mostly I just want the experience and the extra knowledge. And I'm the kind of person who tries to be the best at what she does, so it's pretty much the most natural thing for me to do after I graduate.

Florida State was the only college I applied to and I do and do not regret that. I should not have been as lazy as I was in filling out those college applications, but senior year I was burnt out and I didn't care because I knew I'd get in. And I did. And it's definitely been awesome so far, and I have enough faith in the English program here, its reputation, and its ability to propel me into a decent grad school somewhere. I don't know if I'll stay here for grad school or not, but I'm kind of leaning towards going somewhere else. I think that studying abroad in the fall later this year is going to have a big effect on all of this so making plans now is kind of useless.

I do agree with you, Tony, about the expectations of college students to have figured out exactly what they want to do. There's a lot of emphasis here to get in and out in four years, to pick a major right away and stick with it, and it's really just a load of ********. Like Hevn said, you've got plenty of time to decide what you want to do with your life - don't let other people's expectations rule you, just do what you want to do. My dad, for instance, is 40-something and is seriously thinking about getting a teaching license for high school after being in business for most of his life, heh. As long as you enjoy what you do, I don't think it matters what it is and when and how you got around to it. Being happy is what's important. ^_~[/size]
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[COLOR=DarkGreen][FONT=Arial]It's really funny how things workout for the best sometimes. Personally, I also applied only to one college, got accepted, and then ended up not going (finanacial and family problems) Instead, I ended up stuck at the community college, which I had dreaded so much before, but am so thankful for now. I learned so much more here, how college works differently from high school, how I can use the independance of scheduling my classes towards my own benefit, as well as finally finding a field that offers just about everything I love. I'm halfway through my second year here, and moving on to getting a Masters in Communication Studies. I know its something that I enjoy and is versatile, which is more than can be said of how I was at the end of high school.

[QUOTE] [I]Post by [B]Arcadia[/B][/I]
I do agree with you, Tony, about the expectations of college students to have figured out exactly what they want to do. There's a lot of emphasis here to get in and out in four years, to pick a major right away and stick with it, and it's really just a load of ********. [/QUOTE]
I concur. This is the major problem facing so many high school graduates. We're still kids who are just starting to get an idea of who we are, and of finding out what it is that we truly enjoy. So many people think "Oh, I want to be a doctor, so I have to here and do this, and this" without really taking the time ti see if thats really the right path. Sure, some of us have a very good idea of what it is we want and are going to do, but I think that this number falls in the minority. If more people took the time to use that first year or two in in college to get an idea of what it was they wanted to pursue, we would have more people satisfied and content with their occupations.

as a side note...I feel a lot of major hostility towards college transferring and going back to college? Why is that? Personally, I know I'll probably end attending at least 3-4 different schools to attain my "academic" goal, so I was curious as to whether or not others also think they will transfer, or not.[/FONT][/COLOR]
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