Money, green, bank, moolah, dough or cheddar. Regardless of what you call it, here at Lehigh, we love it. If you don’t believe me, just walk into any frat party — warning: easier said than done — and listen.
You might hear, “I been getting dirty money, Jordan Belfort. Stacking penny stocks while I’m flippin’ these birds.”
Or maybe, “I like to make money, get turnt.”
And if you’re lucky, you might even catch, “Chidi-ching-ching could buy anything, cop that.”
Now, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to have a full bank account. In fact, it’s my belief that attending college is, in essence, a short-term payment for a long-term investment to make money.
But no matter how much I crave money, I don’t think it’s everything. And that’s where I believe I differ from some others at Lehigh.
Countless times since I arrived here, I’ve heard my peers talk about the kind of salary they are hoping to earn when they graduate. They have it all planned out, too.
All you have to do is study hard enough to maintain a decent enough GPA. If you have that covered, you begin to attend professional events such as career fairs. The next step is to acquire an internship at a big company. And as long as you don’t make a bad impression, you’ve successfully guaranteed yourself a well-paying job.
I don’t take any issue with that process. What I take issue with is the mindset that students take on to complete that process. And as a computer science and business major, I believe I’ve witnessed the worst when it comes to a salary-obsessed focus.
It all started on accepted student’s day. My parents and I, along with the rest of the families considering Lehigh as a top choice, shuffled into a cramped room in Packard Lab and waited. Once we were all comfortable, the presentation began.
The first thing I remember being presented was a PowerPoint slide of the employment statistics of computer science and business graduates. We were all in awe, and unsurprisingly, the parents were giddy.
I can’t fault Lehigh for using this tactic because it was clearly an effective one, but to me, the effect it had invalidated the beauty of a program like CSB.
Having been in the program for over a semester now, I’ve met a variety of people who are pursuing it. Some seem like a good fit, but if I’m going to be honest, there are a bunch of people who do not.
The biggest commonality I’ve noticed about people that have struggled in CSB is that they don’t seem interested in what they’re studying. Going to class and stressing out over grades will never be worth it to those who are only in it for the payout.
Besides the choice of major based on money, I’ve also noticed that the most popular student clubs — by far — are ones that are career oriented. Whether it’s finance club, marketing club, accounting club or consulting club, students will flock to a place that can help them network with possible employers.
On the flip side, I’ve seen organizations such as psychology club or chess club struggle to garner enough interest to even hold meetings. I attribute the massive difference in membership of clubs like this not entirely to discrepancy in interest — though that is definitely part of it — but more so to the motivations of Lehigh students.
I hardly ever see my peers going to non-social events or club meetings that can’t be directly correlated to something that will help their grades or their career prospects. Lehigh is missing the intellectual curiosity that is necessary in a successful modern day university.
Now, to clarify, the purpose of this piece is not to criticize the Lehigh community for being interested in pursuing financial security. Instead, its purpose is to make us more aware of the climate of our campus.
As of right now, the way I see it, cash rules everything around us here at Lehigh. But it doesn’t have to stay that way.
Musa Jamshed, ’19, is an assistant sports editor for The Brown and White. He can be reached at [email protected]