Friday, January 4, 2013

College Blog: Millennials in college

How modern college students approach their fields of study differently than their parents

Posted By on Fri, Jan 4, 2013 at 1:56 PM

The College Blog is a partnership between City Newspaper and Rochester Institute of Technology Assistant Professor Dr. Hinda Mandell. Each week City will post blog posts from several of Mandell's journalism students, who will write about what concerns Rochester-area college students, both on and off campus.

I like talking to my father about his college experiences because his was not a cut-and-dry college path.

At first, he studied computers at Penn State University . My dad was not really interested in learning about computing technologies, but that's what my grandparents thought would be a good career choice for him. So that's what he did at first.

While at Penn State he did not get good grades and just plainly didn't understand what he was learning. Frustrated, he took a couple years off from college and took some courses at a local community college.

Finally he decided to switch his academic track. He transferred to West Chester University, where he began studying business and management. Immediately he felt like this was the right major for him. He started getting better grades.

During the next couple of years, he met my mom and - poof! - I was born.

My dad did not graduate until I was more than a year old. He always joked around and called his time in college "The 12 Year Plan" since he took so long to find out what classes best suited him.

Currently I am in my second year studying graphic design at Rochester Institute of Technology.

According to Forbes, graphic design is ranked No. 8 on the list of the "Top 10 Worse College Majors." So why did I choose to study graphic design instead of majoring in something practical, like business or even computer science like my dad?

According to, a website dedicated to young adults, Millennials are opting for college majors that suit their interests instead of their financial stability.

Our generation is more focused on acquiring part-time jobs and freelance work instead of settling on a full-time job that fully pays the bills.

My college offers a wide range of majors - from game design to illustration to packaging sciences - which seems to encourage young adults to follow their dreams. My cohort thinks of college as an extension of their hopes and wishes for the future instead of a time to settle on a stable career path.

So a bit of advice for you, readers: When your own high school student is dreaming of studying stained glass or woodworking, don't fret. Just remember, us Millennials are different in the way we think about work and jobs. We'll find our way - and on our own terms - eventually.

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