You’re sitting on your bed, cross-legged, and the covers are all bunched up in one corner, because what surrounds you instead are textbooks, high-lighters, and a hundred loose-leaf sheets of notes.

You’re vigorously rummaging through them for the third time, because there’s one specific page that you need in order to feel fully prepared for your final, and it’s the only one you can’t find. Your computer goes black; it has finally died. You could have gotten up to grab the charger off your desk on the other side of the room, but there was no time to waste. You finally find the notes you’ve been searching for, only to realize that they don’t even have the answers you so greatly covet. You feel the claws of panic start scratching at your chest.

*Record scratch, freeze frame*

“How did I end up here?”

It all started when you showed up to your first day of college!!! There’s so much going on, all the time. It can be hard to keep up with, and sometimes the workload you have makes you wonder if your education is really worth it, or if game shows still need people to display prizes for the participants. In spite of this, I think that college is worth every penny and panic attack.

I am an advertising major, who studies in the film school, and am pursuing a career that intertwines these two industries. After my freshman year, I still had no idea what I wanted to do when I graduated. I knew I loved advertising, but I’d only taken two classes for it at that point, so it was impossible to know what kind of job I’d actually want in the field. After sophomore year, however, my vision became a lot clearer, and I felt like my possibilities cracked wide open. I’d realized that I wanted to write— duh. I’m unclear as to how I had missed that before. Regardless, the discovery that I could make my hobby into a career was exhilarating. After my summer internship working at a film advertising agency, I was floored. I loved everything about it, and realized that I never would have discovered this niche industry if not for the classes I’d taken up to that point, and the people I’d met through them. Even though I sometimes wish I could just start working, there’s a bigger part of me that is still very excited for what’s left to learn.

One of my generation’s biggest fears is winding up in a job that we have no passion for, and getting stuck there until retirement.

Maybe what you majored in didn’t turn out to be exactly what you loved, or at least it isn’t anymore. But lately, I come to know more and more people who got hired in a field that had virtually nothing to do with their degree, and yet they are fantastic at their job. This is inspiring to me, because it proves that college diplomas do more than just validate your level of excellence in what you studied; they also manifest the amount of skills a person needs to complete college in general; patience, diligence, and an ability to adjust to a hurricane of situations, making sure each one is dealt with aptly. Whether you finished eight assignments that were all due on the same day, or you left the bars early one night because you had class the next morning, it makes a difference in your work ethic, and blesses you with the ability to prove yourself in a job you’ve always wanted, even if it didn’t originally “match” your major.  

Even though we’ve all been in those dire moments of stress as finals loom before us, there are so many victories in college, no matter how small, that make up for them. To me, going to university feeds curiosity, prevents intransigence, and prepares you for the best and the worst. It let’s you practice turning the worst into the best. It bolsters you for the next step in your life, whatever you choose for that to be. It’s worth it!