“Our thought is still more variable than our sight and all our other senses and faculties contribute to this change; nor is there any single power of the soul which remains unalterably the same perhaps for one moment. The mind is a kind of theater where several perceptions successively make their appearance, pass, repass, glide way, and mingle in an infinite variety of postures and situations.”
-David Hume, 18th century philosopher
Part-time minimum wage jobs are flooded with college students. Up to their collars in payment, college students conform to an education more inexpensively attained with a free library pass.
What the library hermit loses from the endless conversations of the ages, are the priceless experiences and relationships acquired in college. Paying for an education and academically based social environment affects, changes and alters the personal identity of an individual.
College students have the opportunity to be who they want to be. Different roles include being a deejay at KRUA 88.1 FM, going Greek like Sigma Alpha Epsilon or Sigma Phi Epsilon or calling the shots on Concert Board. Whatever the situation may be, a person knowingly or unknowingly forms a reputation or identity while in school.
The identity formed in childhood through adolescence and into college and adulthood dictates both that person's thoughts and behavior in any given moment. The general idea of receiving a college degree is to prepare for the desired career ahead. Unfortunately, the consistency of thoughts and behaviors undergoes scrutiny, as does the guarantee of working a career in the field of a college graduate's major.
Propose a non-fictional hypothetical situation: Take a psychology major attending a university that emphasizes study on the inner workings of the neurological processes of the brain. The psychology major then graduates and discovers that working as a dream therapist, a family counselor or with the criminally insane just doesn't provide the foreseen happiness. Out of college and desperate for work the once bright-eyed brain expert works a part-time job and attempts to pursue another career venue.
The advancement of technology sparks a similar interest in our cognitive scientist who manages to obtain one or two computer certificates, without much difficulty considering the workings of the brain closely parallel the workings of a motherboard. Therefore the personal identity of the college graduate with a major in psychology, has transformed into a cognitive computer scientist likely employable by Microsoft.
Rationalist schools of philosophy see the soul or the inner being of the human essence as a constant personal identity.
David Hume does not.
Rather, the human identity under Hume's view can be compared to a vase with a multi floral assortment. The colors of an individual's personality are arranged and altered by how they are nurtured, how they receive and interpret experience and how knowledge is understood through bodily sensations.
In the hypothetical situation above, Hume's argument could be true. A person's identity could entirely depend upon the circumstances presented by the surrounding world and their reaction to it.
Whether the human essence is constant or not, personal identity is affected in every moment of a person's life. The possibility most definitely exists that a particular major attained in college may not lead to a career in that field. A college degree, coupled with life-long relationships, will greatly benefit the qualia of life–how an individual experiences life.
A person's identity should theoretically be formed while in college, but it shall come as no surprise if personal identity dramatically changes in years to come.