Do you remember being in first grade? Specifically, do you remember the day you dressed up as what you wanted to be when you grew up? Maybe you put on a lab coat, uniform or suit. You stood up with a messy name tag and told your best friend that you were going to be an astronaut, doctor, actor or athlete.
The potential of our youth is quickly narrowing down, and the reality for many students at Rutgers is that we have to pick a major and perhaps a minor soon, if you have not done so already. While it is important to remember that these majors do not lock us into a specific career, our studies can set us up for financial success or failure. This is particularly potent when considering the thousands of dollars worth of student debt we need to pay off.
The University must make sure that no matter what degree you graduate with, you have direct career support and financial support throughout your years at Rutgers.
Before we discuss the changes that need to happen, we should take a moment to look at all the services Rutgers already offers. Beyond the advisors we are told to contact, Rutgers students have access to career fairs, the Office of Career Exploration and Success, Handshake and professors alike.
Career fairs provide the opportunity to chat with people in careers we are interested in and learn about new ones. The Office of Career Exploration and Success provides guidance for different fields and help with general skills like resume writing.
These are all programs that are useful and underutilized. Part of the problem is a lack of emphasis on employment. It is fair to say that your first introductory classes are far removed from what you would consider a job skill. Students at every level of their education need to be trained in skills that are applicable to their career and guided towards the jobs their major can become.
Changes need to be made at a departmental level to make sure that students are on track to be employed in their fields upon graduation. These changes include providing a comprehensive list of jobs that are open to students with a specific major, companies that have openings for those jobs, internships that require the skills taught by that major and so on.
Right now, most of Rutgers' department websites discuss the wonders of their classes and professors without giving students a clear picture of what their life will look like post-graduation. We quite literally cannot afford to only plan four semesters ahead.
Departments also need to take a step past providing planning resources and offer formal networking between graduates and current students. Major departments should not act only as a facilitator for education, but for employment as well, brokering relationships between employers and current students.
That said, these resources require time, effort, and most importantly money. It is unclear whether Rutgers offers the same amount of financial support for each department. That said, it is no secret that Rutgers has been cutting funding for some areas, such as the Writing Programs. Ideally, each department would receive a similar amount of funding per student, but this is not necessarily the case.
The "financial secrecy" of Rutgers is not new, and we will continue to demand a dollar-by-dollar breakdown of our tuition fees. This is especially important when students in each school (e.g. Rutgers Business School or the School of Arts and Sciences) pay the same amount as their peers in those same schools, yet enjoy fewer resources than students majoring in fields the University predetermines as more lucrative.
This financial push toward some majors and away from others is a form of manipulative marketing. As long as students in the School of Arts and Sciences, for example, are paying the same tuition, their respective departments should receive a proportional amount of funding. Of course, some majors require special equipment, technology or resources but by and large, there should not be a massive disparity between allocated funds.
Rutgers offers more than 120 different majors. Considering that many students have additional majors, minors or concentrations, this means there are hundreds of different educational paths. That is a lot of pro-and-con lists.
We should have more guidance in picking these majors that is independent of financial resources, and once we have settled on our degree, the University must ensure we have the support to become employed in the field we love enough to dedicate four years of our life to.
Email your department heads and ask them where to find information on employment in your field. Ask for specifics on companies that you might one day work for, successful graduates you can connect with and more. Make it clear that there are resources you expect to have. The more students reach out to their professors and administrators, the more likely employment-related information will be organized and published by each major department.
You have a responsibility both to yourself and future Rutgers students to call on your department administrators to provide you with the resources and connections that will lead to a successful and satisfying career.
The Daily Targum's editorials represent the views of the majority of the 153rd editorial board. Columns, cartoons and letters do not necessarily reflect the views of the Targum Publishing Company or its staff.