Finding your path

By Jeff Smith


I think college was always something that I was destined to attend.

My parents, like most parents, wanted all of their children to go to college. They spent years saving up for it and I also contributed to it with my swine project I did for 4-H.

When the day finally came for me to go to college, I was beyond excited. I spent what seemed like a long summer waiting to drive up to Spearfish and take my required classes. These were the general classes which were required to take by all students before they take classes related to their major.

I was one of those weird students who was actually excited for my classes in college rather than going to parties or having the freedom that comes with living away from parents.

I also wanted to meet new people, as most of the summer I spent on my parents’ ranch where there was a lack of not only people my age, but people in general.

College was actually something that couldn’t have gone much better for me. I found friends, developed my faith, did well on my classes and  graduated on time.

I have a lot of fond memories of my alma mater, Black Hills State University. I wouldn’t trade my time spent there for anything.

I’m glad I was able to go to college and fortunate enough to turn a passion I had into a major where I was able to develop my skills and turn it into a profession.

At orientation, which took place the summer before my freshman year, I didn’t see journalism as very practical or something that I wanted to pursue. I was always somewhat good at writing but English or journalism seemed like a waste of money and I wouldn’t actually learn anything.

I was wrong. I learned a lot in my basic newswriting class which I took my second semester of my freshman year, and a plus was that I enjoyed the class too.

I was fortunate. Mostly, I would say I went the route I did because it was God’s will.

Others aren’t so fortunate.

They spend thousands of dollars on degrees that they never use and they don’t ever get to apply what they learned in their classes.

Only 27 percent of college graduates are working in a job that even relates to their major, according to a study labeled “Do Big Cities Help College Graduates Find Better Jobs?”

Around this time of year, high school graduates are thinking of their next step in life and what they will do for a career.

It’s a tough decision. I know people will not be as fortunate as me to find work in their field of study.

Anymore, I think college shouldn’t be seen as necessary or even as important as just finding something someone is passionate about that they can turn into a career. Finding a passion is what I would say is more important than anything else.

Plus, studies show that a happy brain is engaged, motivated and productive.

I am passionate about writing and I have also become passionate about the way news is presented and delivered.

If someone is already good at art, I hardly see the purpose of going to college to learn about theory and what types of subjects to draw.

But at the same time, college is a wonderful experience that will pretty much shape a person for the rest of their life. Anymore too, I think employers just want to see that people completed college. Completing college might be seen as more of a prerequisite to see that a person can handle a certain level of responsibility. College is also a chance to develop more employable skills like communication, ownership and critical thinking.

If someone is not 100 percent sure of what they want to accomplish in college, it might not be worth going.

I would encourage those that are graduating to do something big soon but don’t worry about narrowing down your long-term goals. Take a trip or do some traveling before you figure out what to do next. There is also nothing wrong with working a part-time job until a solid plan is established and enough money is saved up.