Opinion: Opportunity is abundant

Austin W Belet, Opinions Editor

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What is something that literally every university student has in common?

We are all trying to get our degree.

These pieces of paper show that we have spent specialized time and attention to learn deeper aspects of our craft and to expand our comprehension of it’s application. The fact of the matter is that degrees are not what immediately qualifies any of us to do most types of work. 

STEM majors are afforded the advantage of having a pretty good edge on any competition for simply having a degree, but for those of us with communications, political science, or sociology degrees we have much more to consider where work is concerned.

Across the board there is a point that many people neglect within their chosen paths: your degree is not necessary to get you started. 

Often, we decide that our careers are incumbent on our degree, that to start our lives or to be taken seriously in our field we must have a degree to do it. That simply could not be further from the truth. 

The military illustrates this point rather well with the division of officers and enlisted members. Those who are enlisted get a lot of on the job, hands-on technical experience. The officers frequently have some sort of specialized expertise (in the Navy it can range from supply and logistics to special warfare), and thereby lead and direct those efforts. Enlisted members have the ability to transition to an officer spot after having spent so much time and amassing so much rank, but that is because at such a point they have typically earned the equivalent knowledge of the paygrade they are trying to transfer to.

In political science, there is an easy way to begin your career, regardless of what path you want to go down. You want to work campaigns? They need volunteers/workers. You want to push policy? Email your representative, I am sure they would be happy to meet with you. You want to be a lawyer? Call a law office and ask to shadow with them.

More importantly, as you go through these tiny motions of introducing yourself to your decided field, amass your network and utilize your connections. Networking is an essential component of any kind of career. A network is like a smartphone though, just having one is good but it’s only an asset when you know how to use it. 

So don’t wait around to walk the stage in order to start your career. Start it now. You want to be a communications specialist? Work with a group on campus to help do some branding with them. Want to study chemistry? Johnson and Johnson has a program specifically for college students in that field. 

Opportunity is abundant and it is up to us to seek it out.

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