Melissa Hieber, hieberms@muohio.edu

During one day at work at King Library, I finally got to work alongside one of the other girls that I had seen wandering the rows of books, but that I had never gotten the chance to talk to.  We started that awkward first conversation that most people have when they first meet, but don’t know quite what to say or discuss.  

We passed back and forth the answers to basic questions: What is your name? Where are you from? What year are you?  I finally asked the question that most students at Miami University are used to asking and answering: What is your major?  She looked at me for a second, and then began her work once again as she answered that she is a social work major.  I did not understand her reason for not having pride in her response until she told me that she didn’t think she was coming back to Miami next semester for a reason that most people would not understand.  

What I learned was that her ultimate goal in life is to help people to the best of her ability, by any means necessary, even if it includes moving to a different state or country.  She does not feel the need to get $40,000 in debt to get a degree when a social worker only makes around $30-$40,000 a year.  

I asked her why she even entered Miami to begin with two years ago.  Her reply was that it is not socially acceptable for someone in this country not go to college.  She does not need a degree to do what she wants to do, but people think that it is necessary anyways to get one.  We have come to a point where a Bachelor’s degree is the new high school diploma and high school seniors are looked down upon if they are not competing for the highest grades or applying to some sort of college.  It seems silly that someone who just wants to help people, a very worthy goal in life, has to get a degree that will only hinder her for years after graduation.  

Many of my friends are applying and worrying about graduate schools right now as we come to the middle of our senior year at Miami.  There is constant stress about where to apply, when to finish and when to start the applications, and especially, how to pay for these applications.  However, one of my friends announced not that long ago that she was not going to go to graduate school, but was going to wait a year and decide what she actually wanted to do with her life.  She decided this instead of her just going to graduate school “just to go,” and because it was expected of her.  She was met with some nods of understanding, but also with many looks of shock and disapproval from friends alike.

Charles Darwin once said, “A man who dares to waste one hour of time has not discovered the value of life.”  What if you think you’re wasting four years, five years, or possibly eight years of your life because you’re trying to do something that will please everyone around you but yourself? You could wake up one day and realize that you are living someone else’s life.  I think society needs to take a look around and decide which is worse: a student doing what they want to do with their lives even if that does not include college, or the rest of the problems that surround us both foreign and domestic?  

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