They say that picking the right college major will get you a good job just before or after graduation. But at what cost?
An article in Newsweek says that “a college education provides lots of benefits. Those benefits include acquiring skills, identifying interests, learning about others across time and space, and establishing personal and professional connections.” I, alongside many other disillusioned college kiddies, have found out that no matter how much interest you may find in a particular subject, it may not find you a job in the current job market. Times, they are a-changing. So, how can college students find a passion for something that might lead them into a good job?
The Center of Human Resources at the Wharton School (U. Penn) busted the myths of college majors and the economy to help us dive into a major that you love and a major that will find you a job all in one:
Majors for specialized occupation jobs are a mistake. When looking into a college major, whether incoming freshman or later in the game, DO NOT limit yourself to something that you’re not sure you can guarantee a job in. Example: You have always wanted to be a Digital/Social Media Marketing Specialist for a large company. You’re confining yourself to just that single position, and who knows if you will actually be offered a position right off the bat. Choose the major before looking at potential job positions. Why not try Marketing, Communications, or Digital Media as a major, and look for something more job specific as a minor?
Pursuing something you are passionate about is important, but don’t let it control you. Of course, you want to be at least somewhat interested in what you are studying. Otherwise, what’s the point of even trying, right? While pursuing your passion in a college major is important to future successes, don’t let it be the reason for your downfall if you hit road bumps along the way. The relationship between a fulfilling job and a lucrative job is a complicated one. When it comes down to it, sometimes even the most indirect aspect to your job/passion could be a foot in the door for growth later on. A secure career route might be the one you end up most passionate about!
Be realistic. Chances are, you will have at least one financial blunder either during college or shortly after. While your degree is an investment into your future, you need to make sure it’s one you will be able to pay off. The profit from studying needs to be both financial and academic because living in the hole your entire life won’t be enjoyable, even if you are pursuing your passion. Money might not buy happiness, but being able to pay off those loans later on might help.
There’s a difference between interests and strengths. Find a balance. With the right job, there will always be things for you to enjoy, both in learning more throughout your experiences and on the side as well. Finding the right balance between what truly interests you and what your career strengths are (whether it is writing, communication, conferencing, organization, diligence, etc.) can take time, but don’t confuse the two. When it comes down to it, focusing on your strengths more so than your passion can be the difference between walking into a job and having to continue filling out applications every day.
You can’t always choose the job you love. That requires some experience (and patience). When you work hard at something, you’ll learn to enjoy it more. That’s likely how some of the world’s biggest executives got into the positions that they are in now. You can’t just finish up your degree and after graduation be like, “Hey, I have my degree in what I love and want this job.” Any company will ask for your qualifications/skills and 3-5 years of experience (not that I know from any experience). When you work hard and learn to do an entry-level job the right way, it becomes easier, and you may become more passionate about it as time goes on.
A college major or a job becomes WHAT YOU MAKE OF IT. If you go into college not knowing even an inch of what you want to do, that’s okay. Those first few classes you take are designed to introduce you to some of the general career paths that college majors and minors focus in on in years following. But if you go in with a half-ass attitude about that or any other advancing opportunity, there won’t be any profitable result out of it.
Going to class, getting good grades, finding that perfect internship, and graduating with a degree isn’t enough in this job market anymore.
In order to succeed, you need drive. You need ambition. You need to network and make as many reliable and profitable connections as possible. Communicating to professors, co-op and internship leaders, and job recruiters will make you or break you. Taking the time and using college to hone in on those skills can really take you that extra step from starting out in a class or major that otherwise may concern you in terms of finding a job too. Intersect your skills and passions, and you will be surprised at how many recruiters look to see what you did just to get your foot in the door somewhere!
Featured Image via Urban Outfitters.