EUGENE, Ore. - My high school career guidance counselor told me I had skills that would lend themselves to one of three careers:
- Football coach
- Working in the lumber mill
Admittedly I was a jock with a low C- grade point average, but it did seem to me at the time that I might have a few more options than what I was being told.
True, I did end up working in the lumber mill, but only for two summers to earn money for traveling in Europe.
And that was after I spent four years in the Marine Corps as a computer programmer.
Then I worked in the oilfields, and then I got a college degree and ended up being a photojournalist.
None of that was even on the radar of my high school counselor.
I don’t know how long the list is of potential careers a high school counselor has at his or her disposal, but I suspect it isn’t long or diverse.
And I sort of think the same applies in many ways to college advisors.
Sure, you’ll be told you can be a scientist, or a lawyer, or a businessman, or a writer - whatever.
But they never tell you you might end up being a professional skydiving instructor.
Or a water fountain cleaner.
Or a tree trimmer.
And they certainly don’t tell you not only would you be a very good tree trimmer, but you might love the job.
The sea of green robes representing the 3,700 students who recently graduated from the University of Oregon now have diplomas.
And they are well trained in … well … something.
And a few of them may actually work in the field they spent studying.
But I suspect most won’t.
Most will end up with jobs they never knew existed.
And they may discover these jobs are rewarding, despite the fact the career advisor never mentioned them.
Dan Morrison teaches the Oregon NewsLab class at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communictions. He embedded with the Marines in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, for KVAL.com in 2010.
- COMING @ 8 a.m. PST JULY 6: Dropping in on a professional skydiver
- COMING @ 8 a.m. PST JULY 7: How many students does it take to change a light bulb?
- This 11-part series continues Mondays through Fridays next week