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A Millennial's Journey

thisguymartin profile image Martin Patino ・5 min read

This article is not a lesson, but more of an experience for anyone who can relate.

My name is Martin Patino a Criminology and Criminal Justice graduate from Arizona.I am now a Software Engineer working on multiple exciting projects, however prior to that I worked for DCS(Department of Child Safety) and was very confuse when leaving college. When I graduated I was ashamed and was not proud of my accomplishment and was not happy where I was at. My mind started to linger 6 months after graduation to more of an entrepreneurship perspective and no I do not mean pushing Herbal Life on people, but doing my own thing. Throughout life I had very little mentorship as oldest child and I had seen friends and family members who have struggled with the degree that they have obtained. I hope this article gives you some hope and encouragement that your time spent isn't a waste everyone has a lot to offer even if you don't believe it. Your degree should not define who you are and should not limit you. You are unique in your own way.

I graduated in May 25, 2014 from Arizona State University with my Bachelors degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice. I will be honest that a few months back if you would have congratulated me. I would have answered you "Thank You" with a shameful face. I was not proud of my accomplishment, nor did I have hope that by the end of my senior year that I would find a job. I'll admit I considered many times during my college years to switch to a different major. The only reason I didn't was because I was so far ahead and I was trying to avoid additional student loans at all cost.

An issue that I have perceived is that there is an expectancy and mindset for high school students to attend a university. However, there is not much communication and dialog about what they want to do with their life or their passion. This is a shared issue that seems to arise in all college campuses that many students do not seem to understand why they are learning impractical material that they do not care about and since it is not part of their major or even true passion.
Perhaps you can relate, you have the biology major student who plans on going to medical school, but wishes to be a dancer. You have the communication major that doubts about passing her class, but would really want to start up a business. You have the teaching major who waits to one day be a teacher, however his real passion is in graphic design art and video games.

My question to you I guess would be are you taking advantage of the borrowed time you have on this world? Are you doing what you love most importantly? Life is to short to be miserable.
It is understandable that many individuals will stick out to their own plan they might not like, there are many that will change early on or afterwards to purse something they are passionate about or at least in search for their passion. I for example would consider myself more of an explorer of my passion and entrepreneurship and a tech nerd now. I say explore because I have many projects in my mind that I would like to start up of my own, however I am still searching for one that truly ignites my fires.

Early on in my career right after college, I had many encounters be it family, friends, acquaintances, strangers ask me the same question from "What did I major?" and "Do I plan on going to grad school?" My answer is always "I majored in Criminal Justice and currently work for the state. However, someday I would like to start new projects and start my own independent business something that gives me a sense of purpose".

If there is one thing that I will be honest about is that after graduation from time to time I would always tell myself "Why did a major in such a useless and unmarketable field." I still believe that my degree is not unmarketable to this point and perhaps I am wrong. But I have accepted that my degree does not define my future or me as a person and in the end of it all it did not. You have to believe in yourself and not be limited to your major. I have met journalist majors, who are software developers, CEO with bachelors in psychology, and marketing consultants with Spanish degrees. So don't limit yourself to that piece of paper that you have hanging on your wall. Mine is actually in a drawer somewhere.

I am an individual that is ashamed of the U.S education system not merely because of our curriculum, but because I believe that schools and colleges in that matter limit growth, entrepreneurship, imagination exploration.

I have a feeling that many graduates' individuals that may read this and may understand where I am coming from. Understand that you are not alone there are plenty people that feel like you do. I come from a blue-collar hard working immigrant family. I understand that depending on your culture, university is expected as soon as you graduate high school. It is embedded in us from a young age that college and a degree is your pathway to happiness. I am here to tell those times have changed. College does not guarantee a good income if you are doing it for the money, nor does it guarantee a career in your field like many of the unemployed nursing graduates I have met.

I understand that it may be a frightening thought that you wasted five years in college to obtain a degree that wont be use, but these things happen and you just have to adapt to the best of your abilities and make the best of it and try to find your passion.

This is how I have chosen to approach it, slow but steady.
If there are people out there who believe their degree is useless or isn't for them. Then I would recommend keep your family, friends close because they would be your support during this hard times of confusion and stress. I recommend networking be it Facebook, meet up, gym, grocery store, church. Who knows whom you might meet. You got nothing to lose by networking.

If you graduated and feel that you wasted 5 years for nothing it is understandable. Except, you didn't waste 5 years if you really think about it. You might think you wasted your time in a university, but actually you developed valuable skills through your education. You learned problem solving skills, critical analysis, attention to details, public speaking, researching, networking and others that you might not have gotten if it wouldn't have been because of your degree or going to college. So be POSITIVE your time was not a waste.

Your degree does not define who you are.

Some might call you crazy that you maybe changing your degree from accounting to teaching or computer science for social work. Imagine and do what makes you happy, life is short. You maybe called crazy, but aren't all great visionaries and entrepreneurs a little crazy at some point.

I end with a quote that always gives me hope and a smile
Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently - they're not fond of rules… You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do. - Steve Jobs

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