To understand why people are frustrated with the higher education system, we must understand how they interact with the system.  We have created the frustration flow chart to visualize this unfortunate and common process.  The flowchart aesthetics are designed to represent the muddy and ill-defined decision pathway many take to acquire their careers.

Frustration Flowchart – Step 1: Choose University

Many students begin the process by choosing a university.  They compare universities based on metrics that have more to do with lifestyle than return on investment.  They choose schools based on quality of football teams.  They choose schools based on party lifestyle.  They choose schools based on prestige.  These are all poor metrics for choosing a university, but these are all shadowed by the herd mentality many high school kids are subconsciously victims of.

The herd mentality causes people to choose a university because that is where their friends are going.  For many, college is the first time they are leaving their homes for an extended period of time.  Taking this adventure while remaining in the comfort of their social circle, calms much of the anxiety.

Most of these lifestyle based metrics have very little positive impact on your degree’s return in investment.  When these metrics are given precedence, many of the important metrics are compromised.  Consequently, your degree’s return on investment is negatively impacted.

I know, you are thinking, “but… but… this is the ‘Lifestyle Engineering Blog'” and you would be correct, but in order to engineer a sustainable lifestyle we sometimes need to be the ‘Make Rational Decisions Blog'”.

Frustration Flowchart – Step 2: Choose Degree

So Timmy has chosen a university and now he needs to determine what degree to pursue.  He browses through his university’s catalog of majors and he decides a business degree sounds like fun.  He has no idea who hires business majors.  Maybe he assumes, “Hey businesses are everywhere, so everyone is hiring business majors”.  Then he doesn’t put much more thought into it until his senior year at the career fair.  He has just chosen to create a product and he has no idea who his market is or if they even exist.

Frustration Flowchart – Step 3: Choose a Career

Timmy is about to graduate with a business degree, and he is browsing through the list of companies that are hiring at his university’s upcoming career fair.  There are many companies, but only a handful of them are hiring business majors. Timmy gets to the career fair with a polished resume and he’s in his most professional outfit.  He finds his prospective company’s booth only to see a long line of his classmates waiting for a shot at the same job.  Career fair is over and Timmy gets an interview, but nothing more.  Six month’s after graduation and exhaustive job hunting Timmy’s student loan grace period is over and the payments begin.

Timmy has just been chewed up and spit out by the Frustration Flowchart.  In the next part of this series we will substitute the Frustration Flowchart with the beautiful Success Circle.