I’m having a mid-college crisis. This isn’t the kind where I go out and buy a bright yellow moped (the college kid’s version of a muscled-up sports car) or have a torrid, illicit affair with a coworker, but it’s a real crisis nonetheless. As I enter my junior year, the impending consequences of my chosen majors are looming … and that means I find myself having to choose a career path within the next two years. Cue the panic attack.

Engineers can skip this article. Future doctors, too. You won’t have to worry about finding a job out of college — you’re practically biding your time until an international conglomerate or promising start-up snatches you straight from the graduation procession. But the rest of us, those who are pursuing liberal arts degrees, the ones who dreamed their whole lives of law school or pursuing further education in sociology or philosophy, we’re the ones who will graduate thousands of dollars in debt with little to no job perspectives after months of fruitless searching.

This news hits hard for me. Since I was a little girl, my parents have called me “the attorney.” Law school wasn’t so much a question of when and how, but rather, where — as if at 12 years old it was already decided that I would be taking the LSAT an entire decade in the future. I was always better with words than with numbers, devouring books and writing short stories at a young age, but scoffing at my finance-man father when he asked me about my multiplication tables. I wasn’t math-illiterate; I just liked sentence structure more than balancing fractions.

Now, I’m tossing and turning through sleepless nights with the realization that humanities degree holders may be in serious trouble stepping into the real world. The plan was always: graduate with a double major in Political Science and Women’s Studies, minoring in International Studies. Write an honor’s thesis, use it to get into a good law school and the rest will follow. But now, the work force is too full of wannabe lawyers swamped in student loans. Even professors, GSI’s just out of law school and into another four-plus years of education, are advising to get out, now.

That leaves me with two degrees and a botched plan for a whole lot of research. If I’m honest with myself, I never intended to practice law for long — it was my jumping point for broadcast journalism. But you can’t go straight from undergrad to the newsroom (of CNN, not Aaron Sorkin) so I devised another plan instead. A plan that, it would seem, will lead me straight into the jaws of joblessness and debt.

Now that I’m in the very depths of my crisis, I’ve dropped Women’s Studies as a concentration. I’m considering picking up an Economics minor — never mind that I haven’t yet taken a single credit in Economics or that I only have two years left to complete my degree. But if I refuse to adapt to the job market, I could be waitressing nights while continuing to pay off student loans for an education that, while enlightening, left me completely unprepared to face the real world — a fault that’s completely my own. I need to start training myself to be technical, to face a future that might include an MBA (nothing bores me more than accounting and finance), and a nine-to-five job that means little more than a cubicle and a 45-minute lunch break.

There’s no easy conclusion to this article, or to my crisis. It won’t find resolution until I find a career in which I’m happy and stable, a wish that many haven’t seen recognized in recent years. Maybe someday you’ll turn on your television and you’ll see me presenting the news that the unemployment rate is up .5 percent. Maybe you’ll see me behind the stained apron of a waitress’s indifferent glare. Who knows where any of us will end up? But one thing we must be sure of: the importance of higher education cannot be understated. And beyond even that, training students to land jobs in sectors that will be seeing growth in the next two or four or seven years (math, science, engineering) is absolutely essential. So if my future employers want technical, then that’s exactly what this liberal arts, words-only girl is going to give them.

Erin Pavacik is an LSA junior.

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