Continuing Down the Road of Education

Call it indecision. Call it avoiding the real world. Call it wasting time and money. Sometimes, even when we get to the end of our 120 credits and four years, we decide, for one reason or another, we aren’t done yet. That’s when the decision is made to continue education, whether it be graduate school or additional undergraduate schooling. Why do students do this?

One of the many stated goals of education is to explore areas of learning normally not considered. CORE classes at MSU exist for the reason of exposing students to knowledge, thoughts and ideas they may not have encountered within the confines of their field of study. It’s often asked what, say, an engineer would need to know about foreign film, or a musician would need to know about natural science. The simple answer is that education is about expanding horizons, not just job training.


Sometimes, one of those many seeds of knowledge sown will stick, and grow into an interest that may overtake what we originally thought we wanted to study. Oftentimes students are told to “get our degrees and get out.” From a financial perspective, yes, this is the more sensible thing to do. However, many students have found this linear path is not quite for them, whether it be for career reasons or even personal fulfillment.


Careers that require additional graduate schooling are exempt from this discussion — no one questions a pre-med student’s decision to apply for medical school, but, perhaps, a film major who stays at school to further pursue Japan studies (my personal case) may warrant some explanation.


Sometimes we simply find out, maybe a bit too late, our original field of study was not what we thought it would be. Perhaps the job outlook was not as ideal as we would have liked, or we realized the field of work we studied is not actually something we want to work in. Floundering around seeking work in a field one dislikes simply leads to an unhappy work life, which college was supposed to prevent in the first place if our parents were to be believed. Or, which is more often the case, a student simply discovers a new, intriguing field of study and doesn’t want a thing like graduation to get in the way.


At this point I would like to share my story. For the coming school year, I will be a rising ‘super senior.’ I started my career at MSU as a film major, and despite questioning the major by the end of my freshman year, I decided to continue on because I had made it past the program’s gate. By the first semester of my junior year, I was certain I did not want a career in film or media production. However, around that time, I discovered the Japan studies major through a history of Japanese civilization course. I discovered a field of study I have not only found more rewarding, it also has opened up career paths in international relations and business that I personally find more appealing. My second major even crossed paths with film on my capstone project, as Japanese film and TV was a significant influence on my film, “Fever Dream Hero Taiyomusha.”


This is neither an indictment of students who choose to leave MSU behind in their lives or those who continue to study within its halls. The paths for all students differ, and some paths require a few more laps around Montana Hall before diverging from the university.