Lest we forget our true purpose

Nolan McCaskill

Homecoming is a week that past and current Rattlers can enjoy along with visitors from around the country. Students should enjoy the privileges of being a Rattler, but remember why you are here.

Millions of students are attaining degrees each year – millions. The cost of attendance at Florida A&M for the next academic year will increase to about $18,000 for in-state students and $31,000 for out-of-state students, according to the FAMU website.

During that year, colleges and universities are expected to award 1.8 million bachelor’s degrees and 756,000 master’s degrees, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

Tuition keeps increasing and millions of students are seeking the same degree as you. So why are you here?

In 2010, about 74 percent of young adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher were employed full time. The median annual earnings for young adults with a bachelor’s degree was $45,000 and $54,700 for young adults with a master’s degree or higher, according to NCES.

Earning $45,000 a year is not bad. It is an advantage of earning a college degree versus an associate degree or high school diploma or GED, but college is not worth the cost if you are here just to obtain a degree. Almost 2 million students will receive a bachelor’s degree the next academic year. Much of that 2 million will be looking for jobs, and many will be after the same jobs as you.

Take advantage of your opportunity. Weigh the pros and cons when it comes to skipping classes, especially during homecoming. Think about whether partying until 2 a.m. is worth missing your 8 a.m. class.

Thanksgiving is near and finals are around the corner. Now is not the time to allow your grades to suffer. Do not just graduate – stand out.

Build relationships with your professors. It may be too late for the fall, but many of them should know your name by the end of each semester. Professors have been there and done that. They know what it takes to succeed. Do not be afraid to have an occasional sip from their fountain of knowledge.

Look for internships and become active members in organizations to build your resume. The competition is real. As potential employees, we are not in competition with FAMU, Florida State University and Tallahassee Community College students but students and adults throughout the nation. Remember why you are here.

It should not be just to get a bachelor’s degree. Obtaining a bachelor’s is an accomplishment, and you should be proud. But at the end of the day, it makes you “one of nearly 2 million.” Set yourself apart and take advantage of your opportunity.

Establish a rapport with professors in your field of study. Take advantage of workshops and other helpful events that take place on campus.

We are all competing for jobs, and resumes and GPAs speak for themselves. If neither is among your top priorities, then why are you here?

It is homecoming, and you should enjoy it. But do not let a week of fun blind you into losing sight of why you chose to attend this university and ruin your academic progress.