Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Beware of Mentors aka Geog 100

Advice is free.

This is probably the reason that most people are so willing to give it. I like to soak advice up like a sponge. Sometimes I will actually act on the advice, and other times I will mull it over in my head until it evaporates. Usually it's the advice that I like that I actually listen to.

Like for instance, the doctor telling me that I don't need that kind of appointment until I'm...uh...married. I don't think he counted on my being...unmarried past the age of 18, but whatever. I loved the advice, and I'm really sticking my guns to it.

Other advice I have clung to has resulted in a failed college experience. "Just get the degree!" It's all I ever heard when I started applying for college. "All you need is the diploma." "C's get degrees!" And stuff like such as.

No one mentioned to me that college is really about networking. Instead of working towards the piece of paper that they will inevitably give me (as soon as I finish stats), I should have been making nice with my professors - like, I should have become their best friends! Since my teachers only know me for needing the occasional extension, or the girl that was late/sleeping in class, I don't have any teacher that I can ask for letters of recommendation.

I always thought that I was saving myself from being a pack-rat or a hoarder by throwing away my tests and papers at the end of the semester. Turns out, I could have used those as an example that I didn't always sleep in class. I actually did do good work. But since I did throw away all those things...well, there really is no evidence that I showed up at all.

C's may get you the degree, but they sure as...won't get you into grad school!

And while I loved LOVED my major, I don't know in Sam Hill's I am going to do with it. I took classes that I was interested in. That I wanted to learn about. I studied Europe and South America and population geography and political geography. Can you get a job with an average knowledge of any of those things? NOPE. Someone should have told me that if I wanted to get a job in geography (who said that I did? I don't know!) I should have taken more GIS classes, focused on urban planning. Did research with a professor. Went to conferences and conventions and workshops and lectures and networked at all of them.

To be fair, I did learn all of this in my Geography 100 class, Intro to Geography. The main problem with that was that I took that class my senior year. Turns out, when you start BYU as a junior, you still can't get into a 100 class very easily. I tried to sign up every semester since I changed my major and just wasn't able to get in until then.

So boys and girls - just remember. When it comes to advice, sometimes you get what you pay for. Make sure that you don't just take it at face value, but actually explore to see if people know what they are talking about.

Unless it is time to see the doctor. Then I'm pretty sure it's OK.

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