In the wake of the annual Cobber Ring Rollout, in which Concordia students celebrate spending money on jewelry, I have had several encounters where people told me they purchased their ring “for the career prospects.” This statement confused me, as most places I’ve worked at employ very few Cobbers in general. I don’t intend to use this article to bash Cobber rings, and I take no issue with people buying them. I do, however, see an entitlement state growing within our student body. Specifically, a contingent of Concordia believes that success will automatically come their way by virtue of being a Cobber.
I have a hard time believing that our alumni are distributed across the world as widely as those Concordia brochures might claim. At least, I don’t see our alumni being particularly more widespread than other liberal arts colleges of our size. In fact, most people I have worked with think I go to school in St. Paul, not Moorhead. Overall, I see Concordia as an average school with a fairly average reputation: decent academics, a good choir, and cold weather.
There is a growing trend among our student body where people reference the majors that “make you rich” versus the majors that do not. On average, it is definitely possible to distinguish certain majors with higher earning potentials, but this ignores the hard work and personal initiative of a given subject. I see this trend among students in my own department: mathematics. New students will often see the achievements of graduating seniors and assume that those opportunities are handed over on a silver platter. Likewise, I hear about people majoring in business to make a lot of money, assuming that businesses will be hurling job offers upon graduation. These mentalities discredit the great achievements of former Concordia students, and should not be continued.
The idea of entitlement is certainly not confined to the above departments, and I would argue it infects Concordia, as a whole. It is my opinion that the core curriculum spends a great deal of time convincing students of their own righteousness, and this leads to students feeling entitled upon graduation. It is no secret that Concordia spends a great amount of time implicitly teaching students to boast over service work; TV stations being called to televise Hands for Change is evidence of that. With this in mind, I urge us all to remember that Concordia is just another liberal arts college and it takes more than showing up for class to succeed outside of this bubble.
While it may be true at prestigious Ivy League universities, a degree from Concordia College does not entitle anyone to a high-paying job or otherwise successful career. Moreover, I think it is a mark of arrogance to ever assume that showing up to class and getting decent grades is enough to have businesses swooning. The students at Concordia who have left to achieve great things extend themselves beyond their coursework. Whether it’s helping non-profits in the area with inventory analysis, interning at a competitive East Coast firm, or shadowing clinicians at a local hospital, high-achieving students put in countless hours of work beyond what their education requires of them.
People who know me personally understand that a fair amount of my time is spent studying for professional exams. Despite the hours I put in, real-world work environments have continuously humbled me. In my work as an intern, I have met countless people with brains that work faster than my own, and keeping up with them reminds me that there is always a higher mountain to climb. In my opinion, academic experiences that humble students are the path to ridding Concordia of this entitlement attitude, since students are reminded that learning and growing do not stop on graduation day.
To summarize, most employers (if not all) don’t care about the name of our school, or about our Cobber rings, or about how many of our relatives went here (shout out to my first generation Cobbers). What they do care about it is talent, so invest in yourself. Choose to study that extra hour, apply for an internship or submit a work for publishing rather than watch Netflix all day. There is a bright future available to Cobbers on the condition that they take initiative to go and get it.
This article was submitted by Tom Dukatz, contributing writer.