The information is consistent: around 80% of college-bound high schoolers are undeclared as arriving university freshman.¬† Somewhere around 50% of those who enter with declared majors change them, sometimes two and three times.¬† Many students do not complete their degree program in four years; in fact, we know that after 6 years about 40 % still have not earned a four-year degree.
Although the numbers in private institutions are slightly better, these statistics tell us that there is much time and money being wasted.¬†¬†And now, a recent Time magazine article (Jan 2011) reveals another alarming statistic about the first two years:¬† 75% of time is spent on¬†recreational activities, socializing¬†and sleeping!¬† While I do recall those happy days of my own, I don’t think I would have graduated in 4 years either, if those numbers represented my time allocation!¬†¬†I am sure that I spent more¬†than SEVEN percent —yes, that’s what the article reports!!–of my time studying.
We might look to a number of reasons for this state but the one to which I am continually drawn¬†is that regarding self-knowledge.¬†¬†Defined as having a sense about who I am and what that means in terms of my choices, my preferences, my pursuit of happiness and success, how can I¬†have direction if I am unsure what it is I want to do?¬†¬†I can’t get that from my parents or friends or even from a very qualified and attentive guidance counselor.¬† I have to get that from myself.¬† And how do I do that in a world of distraction?¬†¬†If I do not possess an inward sense to allow for the confident assurance in¬†making¬†the kind of decisions that will affect my entire life,¬†I become a statistic and¬†am inevitably delayed in my determinations.
The not-so-secret truth is that each of us possesses whatever we need to be true to ourselves and reflect that in the choices we make, especially about what we choose for our work and decisions we make relative to our personal lives. ¬†The reason that we might want to seek “professional assistance” ¬†is because we are generally affected by cultural influences that take us away from our deeper self-awareness and throw us into tailspins of what in the end are meaningless “shoulds” and “have tos” that can never serve us.