This week, we’ll be swapping our traditional “web extra” structure for a moment of brief reflection, as I tell you lovely people about my experience working on Rivet.
So who exactly am I? Well, many things: an avid reader, horror-film connoisseur and scented candle enthusiast to name a few. On a slightly more relevant note, I am a fourth-year English major at Ohio State University, and for the past semester, a WOSU intern. Rest assured, the irony of being a college intern working on a podcast about alternatives to the four-year degree is not lost on me.
Where I grew up (in a very stuffy, homogeneous neighborhood), college was viewed as a necessity. Like everyone else in my class, I toured campuses, took the ACT and frantically scrambled to send out my college applications by the deadlines. Nightmarish as it was, I don’t regret it. College ended up being the right fit for me; however, my time with Rivet has showed me this is not the case for everyone.
I must admit, When I started at WOSU, I knew next to nothing about alternatives to the four-year degree. Certificate programs? Apprenticeships? Career Technical Schools? All of it was completely foreign to me. The fact that people my own age had already settled into well-paying, long-term careers blew my mind. The contrast with my own life (full of student debt and ramen noodles) was stark to say the least.
Having listened to the podcast dozens of times, I have become disturbingly familiar with the subjects of Rivet, Season 2. Despite the fact that we’ve never technically met, I have learned so much from these five individuals. Writing web extras for each episode provided a detour off the “conventional” college pathway I had grown so used to. Working for Rivet, I found myself exposed to an entirely different world—one full of coding bootcamps, internship pipelines, career fast-tracks and more.
If you had asked me a few months ago about careers available in agriculture, I would have told you “farming.” My first thought about insurance would probably be the Nationwide jingle, and the COTA bus was just a thing I took each evening to get to work. None of these things would have brought to mind interesting, lucrative careers like they do now. I owe that new perspective to Rivet. Exploring all the different ways people “get to work” challenged assumptions that I didn’t even know I had. I’d just never had to think about them before.
My brother has never quite clicked with academia in the same way my sister and I have. A deeply intelligent high school junior, he’s always been more interested in things like computers, cars and film-making, rather than math, science and history. I’d like for him to know the pathways available to him when he graduates, because when I was his age, no one told me I had options beyond a four-year stint at college. Don’t get me wrong—I’m excited to see where my degree takes me, but a part of me wonders where I’d be had I taken the road less traveled by.