With our country's decreasing job opportunities and ongoing struggle to re-establish a secure economy, there has been a significant amount of pressure placed on today's youth to go to college. Pursuing a higher education has always been pitched as one of the most conclusive way to broaden one's job prospects make oneself more marketable and appealing for future employers. Many students attend college after high school to enrich their minds, meet interesting people, and, of course, open the door to big opportunities which, more likely than not, usher in bigger bucks. However, I have witnessed many cases in which friends of mine, all very exceptional people, have pursued a particular college degree, not because they are truly passionate about their chosen area of study, but because said degree would ensure a preferred income. Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting a financially secure future; it's what we all strive for. But it's an unfortunate thing when people let their passions fall to the wayside for the sake of a fatter paycheck.
Now we all know what the big money titles are : Doctor, lawyer, computer engineer and any other job title within the STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) field. These fields of study are very important and necessary to the infrastructure of our society and our world, and yes, attaining a job in these fields will most likely ensure an impressive salary. However, for someone like me, who, abhors math and shies away from anything too technical, not even a million dollar salary would persuade me to dabble in anything in those fields. I admire people are naturally adept at math-y, science-y, technological stuff, but I am a far cry from interested in any of it. From an early age, my mom, a nurse who preached of the vast opportunities in the medical field, strongly encouraged me to work in a health-care setting. Even today, she is still wary about what kind of life I can make for myself with a measly English degree. I can't count how many times I have gotten the skeptical eyebrow raise or innocent, "Oh?And what are you going to do with that?" after I tell peers and adults that I am an English major. And I won't lie, their doubts have gotten to me from time to time. I've considered changing my major to something more "marketable" a few times, but in the end I always stick with studying what I love.
I always like to encourage people to follow their Passions and not their Pa$$ions. If your passions lie in the STEM fields I tip my hat to you and applaud you for having the ability and patience to do what I could never do. If, like me, you aren't so STEM savvy, I would strongly advise you to reflect on what you really love to do and find a way to create a career path that allows you do to that every day. Talk to counselors or people who are in the career field that you admire. There might be people who will make you doubt your decision to be passionate instead of necessarily "practical", not out of malice necessarily, but perhaps out of love and concern, but stay the course, be wise with whatever salary you receive, and you'll find fulfillment doing what you truly enjoy doing. Even if you choose to pursue a 'safer' career path that you are not sure you will fall in love with, find a way to keep your passions in your life; I have a friend in Engineering who would rather be plucking a bass guitar in an ensemble and a Linguistics major friend who would rather be an actress, and a Pre-med friend who would rather be sketching for a living. And from them I have learned that life is too short to not to do what you love.