By Robert Stephens | Photos by Scott Cook, Angela DeCenzo, and Laura Totten
We all start to say it at some point in our lives: It wasn’t that long ago, was it? Look at the typical career path in early 2008. It seems pretty clear, but it’s about to be turned on its head. If you’re mining for a career in finance, a job at Lehman Brothers, the fourth-largest investment bank in the U.S., is gold. It will go bankrupt by September, after more than 150 years in business. Most of us still know Amazon as an unconventional book and music retailer, and there’s no such thing as Uber or Airbnb because it’s ridiculous to think that a car-ride service and property rentals could be crowdsourced—whatever “crowdsourced” means.
And in the Orlando area, Nicholas Bowers ’14 is making plans to start his freshman year at Rollins.
“Looking back, any student in America should have been concerned,” says Bowers from his home in Seattle, where he works as a senior program manager for Amazon Flex, a now ubiquitous service that almost no one could have fathomed a decade ago. “Everything about the world economy was changing at that very moment. And no one, especially an incoming freshman, had any idea what it was changing into.”
As it turns out, Rollins graduates have been able to embrace the change as well as anyone. Which is a good thing because change keeps coming. In fact, a recent report from Dell Technologies estimates that 85 percent of the jobs that will exist in 2030 haven’t been invented yet. So why do Rollins graduates and almost-graduates view the unclear path ahead as an opportunity? Thanks to their interdisciplinary education, they’re poised to stretch past the boundaries of a major and adapt to anything.
“We know a student’s first love will usually be their major,” says Emily Russell, associate professor of English and associate dean of curriculum. “But look at credits. Students take 40 credits for general requirements and 48 for a major. The real difference is how we weave the entire education together and prepare students for an unknown future.”
The first group of students to complete four years in the Rollins’ new general education program—Rollins Foundations in the Liberal Arts—is about to take aim at the moving target known as the real world. But while looking ahead, they can also look at the stories of past graduates and be certain of this: As a Rollins graduate, they will be ready for anything, anywhere, and even anytime.