For most people, high school graduates, like most adults, do not end up building careers within their institution of higher learning.
Leaving an institution of higher learning after a year? It’s no longer news, despite only half of us ever doing so. The most recent annual survey of college grads published in The Catholic Encyclopedia surveyed more than 2,000 alumni from 23 Catholic universities in the United States.
Here are some memorable examples.
A senior at Notre Dame’s St. Joseph’s College in 1998: “After graduation, I was the only non-Catholic or unaffiliated student in my class at Notre Dame. In my freshman year, I also decided to start working for the university as a member of the Office of Student Affairs.”
A senior at Mater Dei High School in 2007: “It was a miracle of God that I had graduated college,” said one. “I just had a voice in my head that told me to go get out.”
Leaving the Catholic University of America in 2010: “Before the holidays, I watched the Boston Marathon with many of my family, and I celebrated with people I hadn’t had time to see in a while,” said one. “I was surprised that the marathon wasn’t more awesome, or more terrifying, like Columbine.”
Leaving the University of Florida in 2011: “While studying philosophy at Florida State University, I had two minor discoveries,” said one. “The first was that the world seems to have an inherently selfish and dirty side. I realized that those of us who spend so much time shaping the world’s morals are often in denial, for good reason.”
Getting out of the D.I.Y. environment of St. John’s College at West Virginia University in 2008: “My first experience away from school was at St. John’s College in preparation for the 2008 Campaign to Defeat the Bully Act,” said one. “I was in school for two years and knew the importance of focusing on my academic and personal life. But a friend from college was one year older than me and would never help me accomplish my goals as an adult. She believed in me and backed me in the F.U.Y. approach but [was] not offering me assistance. This was a wake-up call to myself, and I set out to fight back.”
Education is especially likely to disappear from college campuses these days, and it will probably never return. The only way we can return to such an academic mindset is to have students lead the way in organizing for change. This way, why would we ever leave college?
Alex Faymer is a senior at Catholic University of America (CUA) in Washington, D.C. He is a senior at St. Joseph’s College in suburban Washington.
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