Not a college instructor here but someone who didn’t know what I wanted to do right out of high school and thus did the “community college, associate’s, transfer to a (real) college with an online program.” I know what you mean w/people being more motivated - saw some students like that myself but also saw a lot just kind of dabbling in the subject my bachelor’s was in almost as a hobby,too. (my BA was in a writing-related subject so I think it just attracted a certain amount of bored housewife types treating it like a hobby or with vague dreams of being writers someday - yet half of them were afraid of having their work rejected or criticized so…wonder how that turned out.)
Due to family and personal stuff going on, it took me…geesh, I started at the community college right out of high school and got out…maybe 2 1/2 - 3 years after I started there. I truly did not know what I wanted to be when I grew up. Throw in the BA as an online student and I finished college 6 years after high school
I don’t know how old most posters on here are but like, I feel like, as a late 20s millennial there’s this like, societal push for everyone to finish high school, go to college and have it all figured out. And I hated that then, hate it now and will hate it 'til the day I die probably. Like, senior night sporting events in school would always do this, “here’s so-and-so, child of Parent A and Parent B. So-and-so plans to attend blabbity-blah college and major in blah-blah and they hope to work as blah-blah-blah.” And I’ve heard of SO many people who I went to school with, mainly a grade or two ahead of me, who went to college, studied one thing, then changed it a million times. It’s like, you know, why not just tell us, hey, it’s okay if you don’t know what you want to be when you grow up, you’ll have to figure it out, yes, but it’s okay to not know.
Like, me - for the longest time as a kid/teenager I wanted to be a vet because I loved animals (there was a brief span in maybe 4th-5th grade where I wanted to be a zookeeper). I’m also utterly horrendous at math to the point that basic Algebra was a struggle, so that probably wasn’t going to happen, haha. I ended up at a community college majoring in agriculture with no clue what I wanted to do beyond work with animals and now I’m doing something completely different that doesn’t (usually) involve animals.
I ended up frustrated when I did transfer to get my bachelor’s but that was more due to stuff with the school than anything else - I knew what I wanted and the school and I didn’t see eye-to-eye on a lot of things (it was a small private college and I was an online student and in a lot of ways, in my experience, they didn’t really care as much about the online students as they acted like they did.) But I knew what I wanted then and I did what I needed to in order to get out with a degree and start working because by that point I was motivated by just knowing what I wanted.
I don’t know what I’m writing this tangent for, haha, I guess yeah, knowing what you want can be very motivating and also I don’t really think k-12 is always set up to build/foster/nurture a love of learning in kids. The schools I went to growing up, we’d start state standardized testing as young as like, 3rd grade, so…yeah.