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Moment of Clarity: Please Plan to Leave

Andrew Jones is a senior legal communications major.

Andrew Jones is a senior legal communications major.

I have an announcement to make, which might be surprising to some of you. Get ready, here it is: there is life beyond Howard. Scary thought, I know; yet much less scary when you actually plan for it. A significant problem with Howard students arises when they love Howard so much that they refuse to leave. According to Twitter, there are a number of students who recently discovered that they “never want to leave Howard.” Needless to say, anyone with serious goals in life should be appalled by that statement. No student should find the pinnacle of success or life at a university. How short-sighted have we become when life is measured by semesters instead of accomplishments?

Those readers from Detroit will relate to me when I say I love the Northwest terminal in Detroit’s airport. There is a Brooks Brothers, TGI Fridays, interesting people, intricate fountains, and even a monorail. But as much as I love the airport, I understand it is not the destination. Howard is just like our favorite airport. We are here for a time, sometimes longer than expected for reasons beyond our control. Yet as much as we love it, the only reason we came here was to leave. That said, let’s prepare for this flight.

First of all, the world beyond Howard will require you to have some sort of job or career. Interestingly enough, there are actually internships that prepare you to enter a career. You are never too young to intern, and no company, agency, or organization will turn down a Howard student willing and able to work. These college years go by extremely fast, and if you fail to take time to prepare yourself for the next step, you will fail at the next step. Let us not focus all our efforts while at Howard on Howard; succeeding on Homecoming, Yearbook, the Hilltop, student government, greek life, or as a Campus Pal is entirely separate from succeeding in life. Don’t forget that.

I understand that everyone may not be able to find a job during this recession, and many elect to remain in school. While continuing education is commendable, using undergrad as a recession shelter is unacceptable. There are hundreds of graduate programs at global institutions available for Howard alum, none of which include adding a semester or year to undergrad. Some of my closest friends are taking longer than four years to get their degrees, and it is perfectly understandable to do so when your situation dictates. However, don’t use the recession or your mediocrity to justify your taking longer to finish than your peers.

Everyone should know that the majority of your life will be spent post-graduation. Knowing that, please plan for it. Proper planning prevents poor performance. Unlike Howard, in this world beyond college, poor performance will not be excused by your affiliations, compensated for with extra-credit, or condoned by your peer group. Don’t say no one warned you.

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