By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.
Why didn’t they teach you that in school?
We have this expectation that once you go to school, get a degree, you should be set. You should know what you need to know. That is not true by a couple of kilometers.
I have discovered since I graduated from school, that what I do not know outsides the things I did learn. Some of this I can attribute to the student not getting everything the professor taught. I know I missed some things. Now that I have been teaching I realize we don’t tell the students everything they need to know. It is just not possible.
Most educational programs cannot begin to teach you all there is to know in your subject matter area. Personally, I have read more books, attended more trainings, and had to learn more material since the degree than I did in the process of getting a degree.
This phenomenon happens in very good degree programs. It is probably worse in some of the for-profit educational systems which can teach you all sorts of things that are fun to learn but do not necessarily qualify you to get a job in that field. In some places, there were no jobs to begin with, or the ones that are out there require far more than a degree.
What a good program of study can do for you is to teach you the basic vocabulary of the field you want to enter. You should learn some things about the laws or ethics, hopefully, both, that relate to your chosen profession. You learn enough to realize what you do not know and that is about all. The purpose of an educational program should be to give you basic entry-level skills, not the advanced skills that you might need to be competitive in the job market.
Let’s use counseling as an example. We learn the differences between depression and autism and we learn the theory of how to counsel. That does not make the new graduate competent to work with someone with an eating disorder or Autism. Those advanced skills require more training. Most of the time we don’t know when we graduate what direction our career will take. You get hired by an agency that works with people on parole and you learn about that. If you get a job at an eating disorder clinic or an organization that works with people with autism you will need more training in that.
The result is a whole lot of recent graduates who find out that there are no jobs doing what they learned about in school or who find they have such basic skills that there will be years more training required before they can function at a competent level.
If you think that once you get that degree the education part is over you will probably not last or be successful in your chosen field. The true professional never stops learning.
One of the great tragedies of our educational system these days is the belief among so many people that going to school and getting a degree in something you like will automatically result in a good-paying job in that field. The truth is that the degree only gets you in the door for the interview. The path from a new graduate to a successful career is a long one.
Far too many people have run up sizable educational debt only to find there are no jobs out there in that field or those that do exist are in other parts of the country and may not pay enough to fund that large student loan.
If you have made the decision that a college degree is for you, make sure that you research not only the school you want to attend but the major you will embark on. Spend as much time researching the possible job market for that job as you would on following a sports team. And consider talking with someone who is currently on the job about the things they have had to learn after embarking on their career.
Your school may have taught you about the subject matter of your degree but that can fall far short of what you will need to know to be successful earning a living in that field.
Remember that your learning does not end with the degree. If you want to be successful in most fields the degree is the starting point in your lifelong process of learning.
Best wishes on your path to creating the happy life you want.
David Joel Miller, LMFT, LPCC
- Warning – 6 reasons what you learned may not be true! (counselorssoapbox.com)
Staying connected with David Joel Miller
Seven David Joel Miller Books are available now!
My newest book is now available. It was my opportunity to try on a new genre. I’ve been working on this book for several years, but now seem like the right time to publish it.
Story Bureau is a thrilling Dystopian Post-Apocalyptic adventure in the Surviving the Apocalypse series.
Baldwin struggles to survive life in a post-apocalyptic world where the government controls everything.
As society collapses and his family gets plunged into poverty, Baldwin takes a job in the capital city, working for a government agency called the Story Bureau. He discovers the Story Bureau is not a benign news outlet but a sinister government plot to manipulate society.
Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.
Dark Family Secrets: Doris wants to get her life back, but small-town prejudice could shatter her dreams.
Casino Robbery Arthur Mitchell escapes the trauma of watching his girlfriend die. But the killers know he’s a witness and want him dead.
Planned Accidents The second Arthur Mitchell and Plutus mystery.
Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.
What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead, and you could be next?
Sasquatch. Three things about us, you should know. One, we have seen the past. Two, we’re trapped there. Three, I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to our own time.
For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller
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