I no longer agree with the contents of this post.
1 year later, I realise that many times studying what you love can be a waste of time, money and energy. At university age, we usually have no idea what we love. So instead of doing what you think you love, I believe you’re better off building flexible career capital which means skills, a portfolio, connections and a chance to explore as many career paths as you wish, in order to figure out what personally fits you best. For a more updated and helpful version of this post check out the Adulting page. 😉
This post is inspired from Danny Dalah’s awesome music video: How to Pick A College Major.
As you might have guessed, the moral behind the song/video is that you should study what you love because we’re all f*cked anyway. Although funny and with a sad element of truth to it, I thought I would explore several other reasons why you, as a university student, you should definitely study what you love in university.
The FIRST thing to note is that you should study what you love if you are willing to do two things:
- Work hard
- Have a Plan B
Studying what you love means working 10 times harder to achieve your goals. Yes, you may earn more with a Business degree than an Arts degree, but if you put in the work and the dedication, the money will come rolling (not to mention you’ll be enjoying it!). And I say have a Plan B simply in case Plan A doesn’t work out (plus you won’t be worrying as much). A Plan B could be studying another degree at the same time, gaining work experience, earning certificated, etc.
So if you’re in the process of choosing your degree or thinking of changing (been there done that), I want to give you a few reasons why studying what you love is your best choice in university.
Education is not a means to an end
Imagine what would have happened if all the great thinkers, authors and artists went to university to ‘get a secure job’ and ‘get enough income to pay the bills’. Imagine if we all just studied a secure subject and ended up in a secure job with secure paychecks? Life would get pretty boring in my opinion.
Education is so much more than a ‘means to get a job’. You don’t go to university just to receive a piece of paper at the end which might or might not get a job. You go to learn about life, to make connections, to learn about something that interests you.
Education is part of life, and college is where you get your foundations to explore as much as possible (yes even the dodgy stuff)
Many people argue that university is an investment, especially considering the huge costs, effort and time, and therefore one should hope to get the highest paid job possible. I do believe it is an investment, but the return should not be a job but an overall better life.
You put in this money, time and effort to properly explore what university offers for you, to take advantage of every opportunity. That ranges from trying different degrees, joining clubs, taking part in activities, making connections (Freshers week is a YES). You want to make most of the university life, not just the degree.
No guaranteed job
If you still haven’t watched Danny’s video, go watch it (which one are you? I’d say I’m either the dealer Business student or the Fine Arts History one). Getting a degree gave you a stable job and income 30 years ago, but not anymore.
Not only that, but in this day and age you can enter employment with pretty much any degree (hello English teachers). I got a job as a Digital Marketing assistant and guess what? I didn’t even have a degree (I was 18 lol).
Everyone gets degrees nowadays, so getting a Business and management Bachelor’s sadly won’t make you stand out from the crowd. So you have to do extra activities, gain some work experience, earn some achievements. By doing this you can study what you love and also gain some hands on experience to show how serious you are. Or you can also use this extra experience as a Plan B if you’re not feeling confident about your degree (for example: earning the TEFL certificate to teach English).
There are well-paid people in every field, and life is really too short to ignore an opportunity to work at what you love. Do you really imagine yourself doing something you dislike for the next 40 years? Not me.
I think it’s fair to say we all agree that a high salary does not correlate with high job satisfaction. And your job satisfaction is a genuinely important factor to consider when choosing your degree: will I be happy working at this? Will I do this for long? Will I feel fulfilled? If you’re not sure, get an internship or try it part-time.
If you end up in a job doing something you enjoy, you’ll be much more productive, willing to work and trying to produce better results. I can do wayy more hours of work now that I work online. Before, the 3 hours a day at a desk job nearly killed me. I know which one I’ll be choosing for the future.
But when I say happiness I don’t only mean your job satisfaction, I also mean your happiness at university. What will matter for the rest of your life is whether you had an inspiring, exciting and life-changing time at university, not the practicality of your degree. And studying something that truly interests you will only improve the experience.
What you love and what you’re good at can be two different things (beer pong does not count). Ideally, we want a job that combines both, and that’s actually easier than you think. Can’t find one? Invent. Over at Nerd Fitness, Steve Kamb wanted to write about fitness but include all the ‘nerdy stuff’ in it too. He did a great job of it.
I’m good at translating, and I enjoy writing fiction. Job idea: translating novels. I enjoy and am good at other things. What about you? What combinations do you think you could find? There are many job possibilities out there, you just have to try them out and see what works best for you (blogger is a great one too).
Remember that it’s never too late
People change careers at 30, 40 and 50. Remember that you will always have the option to change if you see what you are doing is not a viable option. Another reason why you should use university as an opportunity to explore: to expand your options.
I started my degree with Accounting w/ Law because I knew I wanted to understand how people kept track of their money. I’m one semester in and I realise I really can’t do this for an entire year, so I’m changing course to International Business. My dream is to have my own business and I’m thinking that a degree in Business is a good start (without the drug dealing, of course).
Remind yourself that you want life to be happy and fulfilling. So don’t be scared/hesitant to keep looking for the vocation which will bring you the highest degree of satisfaction.
Here at Financially Mint one of my goals is to show students and young adults how to take control of their money through good money habits, the right mentality and other tips. Another of my goals is to show students that life is not all about work. Life is not all about the 9 to 5 grind, about earning money just to pay the bills and complaining about your boss.
I want to show fellow twenty something year olds how they can take control of their money so they have the space to focus on what really matters: life. In the personal finance world, this is called financial independence or financial freedom: being able to do what you enjoy and not purely because of the money (although it will always play a small part).
A lot of awesome millennial personal finance bloggers talk about their lives changing at the ages of 30/40 as they fixed their finances, changed jobs, and pursued financial independence. But what if you could reach financial independence right out of university? What if you could focus the rest of your life doing what you enjoy, exploring the world and pursuing your ‘passion’? It’s not impossible and it’s not just a dream. In fact, you can get started now: by choosing a degree that you love.
A little side note: Danny made some AWESOME haikus about personal finance in college for me, and I thought it would be a cool idea to post them around my social media. There are 10 in total, and I’m going to be giving a cool $5 Amazon voucher to the first person who can find the 10 and email them all to me (it will be over the course of several days).
Here’s the first one!
If you can read this,
You can likely teach English,
Go forth and profit.