Getting a degree can be the best decision you make. It will open up all kinds of opportunities, not just after you graduate, but during your studies as well. You will learn a huge amount about your chosen subject and yourself. You’ll gain soft skills you would never have picked up in the world of work alone.
Of course, college is not going to be right for everyone, and it is important to determine whether it is worth going to in your specific situation. However, for the most part, there will be benefits to gain from attending school, whether you decide to go to a traditional college or you work online.
Something that will be very important is choosing the right thing to study. Sometimes, it will be obvious; you need a specific qualification to do the job you want to do. Other times it will be harder to decide; you need a degree, but it doesn’t particularly matter which one. This is where things get hard because you’ll want to make sure you choose something that will help you get further ahead.
Yet, with all these choices, there is one thing that can often be forgotten; your passions. Choosing to study a subject you love, rather than one that looks great on a resume (assuming these are two different things), may not sound like the best option, but in the end, it probably is. Studying something you enjoy for two, three, or four years will have many benefits, but studying something just because you feel it’s the right thing to do for a potential, as yet unknown, employer has to be a good idea. Read on to find out some of the reasons why.
Money Does Not Equal Happiness
It could be that you have researched possible employment options for when you leave college and you’ve noticed that some pay a lot more than others. Unfortunately, those jobs require you to have a degree in something that you’re not interested in. Yet, the temptation to earn a large amount of money is still there, and it could be that you give in to that temptation and choose a degree subject that will make you miserable and bored for the next few years.
Yet, surely, if you’re going to be earning good money, these years are a sacrifice you’re willing to make. For some, this will be true; they will risk being bored and disliking their time at college (which should be full of excellent opportunities and a chance to have some fun with friends, and so on) to get that well-paid job.
Do you want to be like that? The reality is that if you are careful with the money you earn and don’t get into debt by overspending, even a smaller salary can allow you to live the life you want to, with a nice place to live, a vehicle, and annual vacations. It is all down to budgeting, so you shouldn’t have to give up your happiness in college – and the rest of your life, when you think about it – just to have money in the bank. It’s not worth the mental health problems or the feeling that you’re wasting a golden opportunity that would come with this plan.
As we’ve mentioned above, studying a subject you don’t enjoy will be boring. On top of this, however, it will be much more of a challenge than it would be to study something you enjoy. When you love a subject, you’ll be much more engaged in it. You’ll listen to lectures more attentively, you’ll work harder on your coursework, you’ll make sure you do your best in assignments, and you’ll go to each lecture and seminar. You’ll probably do your study and research in your spare time to supplement your learning too.
When you dislike a subject, you are not going to be willing to do these things. Skipping a lecture here and there won’t feel like a problem (and could turn into skipping a lot of lectures), and you certainly won’t feel the urge to continue learning outside of the classroom. You’ll do the bare minimum for your assignments because you just can’t focus – you’re not interested in what you’re writing about.
As you can see, the difference between how you would study something you loved and had a passion for and something you disliked but felt was a good subject for your resume is vast. Ironically, taking a subject you don’t like to get ahead could lead you to fall behind because of bad grades or lack of interest.
It’s far better to pick a degree in something you’re interested in and do well at it – even excel at times – and then, when the time comes, find a job that links to that degree. You’ll be happier and more successful in your endeavors if you take this route.
You Can Be an Inspiration
When you are doing something you love, no matter what that subject might be, you can inspire others to do things they love as well. You can inspire others to be themselves. This is a vital thing in life, but it’s something that can easily be forgotten because we are so often under the influence of other people. Even if the advice we are given is well-meaning, it can distract us and detract us from the path we should be on. This is why you should always listen to advice, but ultimately weigh up the pros and cons and go with what feels right to you. Even if that is a mistake, at least you won’t wish you hadn’t listened to others.
With that in mind, if you can go ahead and do whatever it is you want to do, you’ll inspire others to trust in their minds and ideas and do the same. It’s even better if you can study something that will be of benefit to the world at large. For example, we always need more teachers and leaders in education, so taking on a degree in K-12 educational leadership would be a wonderful way to give more to the world and inspire others to do the same. It ticks a lot of boxes and could be exactly the right move to make.
You Can Stop Worrying About What Others Think
As we have said, doing something just because someone else wants you to or thinks it would be the best thing for you won’t be a good idea. Not unless it’s the same thing you want, anyway. If that’s the case, then everyone will be happy, but if you are other people are thinking in two different directions, the best thing to do is go with what you want, and not pick a degree subject based on someone else’s wishes. They might be trying to think of the best thing for you, but equally, they might be trying to live their own missed opportunities through you, and that would not be helpful for anyone. You might even find that, to be happy, you have to go back and start again, which, although possible (and a good idea if you need to), would be costly in terms of your time and money.
It can be hard to go against advice from someone, however, especially if that someone is a parent or someone you trust and want to please. Yet, in the end, the important thing to remember is that they are not the ones who will be doing the studying and the work, and they are not the ones who will be looking for work once they have graduated. That is you, and, therefore, you need to know that you have to stop worrying about what other people think and do what you want to do and what will benefit you the most.
This is not an easy lesson to learn, and it can be hard to do, but it’s crucial for your health and happiness, not just now, but well into the future as well.
You’re Not Training for a Job
When you go to college, you’re not training for a job. This might sound wrong, but the fact is that when it comes to specific careers, such as medicine or law, for example, you’ll need to obtain your initial degree and then go on to study at graduate school specifically for that career choice.
This means that the subject you choose at college, although important, may not be as vital as you think in terms of your career. It depends on what you want to do and what additional education you want to apply for after you graduate (if any).
When you think of things that way, you’ll feel less pressure to choose a degree that leads to a job and, instead, you can choose a subject or subjects that will give you knowledge, interest you, and teach you how to learn. Engage with your topics and understand how you study best, and when it comes to additional qualifications or entering the world of work, you’ll be a much more well-rounded and informed individual. This can go a long way, and it will certainly make your university degree a more interesting one.
Perhaps you don’t know exactly what it is you want to do with your life. Maybe you have a plan in front of you. In either case, taking a degree in something you love will help you either solidify that plan (or create one) or change it entirely because you’ll gain new perspectives and understand yourself more. This is an important point; just because you go to college with one idea about how your life will turn out doesn’t mean you have to stick with that idea, come what may. In some cases, when you discover more about what is available to you, you’ll realize something else would be a lot better.
When you study something you love and have a passion for, you’ll be open to many more opportunities. You’ll notice more of them and you’ll see how you could fit into a life working in whatever area it is you have started to move towards.
Plus, those opportunities might be unusual ones. Employers will be looking for people who can study and learn and who have good communication and organizational skills – skills that can be picked up no matter what degree course you study. On top of this, however, they will often also be looking for people who are passionate about what they do. They’ll want people who are interested and whose work will make them happy. So, picking a subject you enjoy may well open doors you didn’t even know were there.
Better Mental Health
When you are miserable in your job, you will be miserable in other areas of your life as well. You won’t intend this, but it is an inevitable consequence of disliking where you work and what you do. That’s because, whether you like it or not, the majority of your waking life will be spent working. If you don’t enjoy it, then when you aren’t working, you’ll be worrying about it. Rather than enjoying your time off with friends and family, or even just relaxing alone, you’ll be thinking about how much you’re dreading going back to work. This will mean you can be irritable and angry or withdrawn. Your relationships will suffer and you might even develop mental health issues.
When you consider that studying for your degree is similar to working a job, either full or part-time, depending on your options, you’ll see that the same thing applies. If you dislike what you’re doing, that will color the rest of your life and make you miserable. It will hurt the people around you. It will potentially develop into stress, anxiety, or depression.
Studying something you enjoy won’t give you that feeling. It will be interesting and exciting, and even if it’s still hard work and there will be times you just don’t feel like studying, for the most part, you’ll be a lot happier.