Majoring in Passion

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Illustration by Ashley Fairbourne

Camille Bastow-Heldt | Staff Writer | [email protected]

With each passing semester, college students feel the relief of seeing a brighter light at the end of the 120-credit tunnel.

However, as each semester comes to an end, the ability to change majors diminishes significantly. While some come to college with the path to their career goals planned perfectly, others find themselves struggling to find any sort of passion at all. What’s with this whole “major” business anyway? Is selecting a major really the best way to attain one’s career goals?

Let’s find out.

Just so everyone is up to speed, defines a major as “a group of courses required by a college in order to receive a degree –– an area (one) specializes in. … There are certain ‘core courses’ in the specialization that everyone is required to take, along with several ‘elective courses.’” It is important to note the word specialize, which is defined as “confining oneself to providing a particular product or service” or “concentrating on and becoming an expert in a particular subject or skill.” The ultimate goal behind making college students select a major is to help ensure that their money is going toward an education in a field where the students will excel and feel fulfilled.

But are some degrees better than others? That depends on what one defines as better. In terms of more money being the equivalent of “better,” that could be accurate. Some majors can filter into work fields that are more prosperous than others. While this is true, there are many people who have degrees in fields that are not usually seen as prosperous, but have done very well for themselves, all due to their passion.

Phil Gordon, a UVU communication professor, said in one of his classes that the trend of  “60 percent of college grads (who) can’t find work in their field,” which identified, won’t continue because the millennial generation is creating its own jobs. While this is not the most motivating piece of advice, it is obvious in all of the success of local bloggers, photographers, singers, videographers, food trucks, animators, etc. acting as entrepreneurs. They’re individuals who had a passion and made a career out of it.

Understanding that this life is about pursuing passion, and then making a living out of it is the first step in any successful person’s life, and examples are all around us. Every teacher, actor, writer, news anchor, doctor and restaurant owner had to decide that regardless of how great the money prospects were or how saturated the field was, they were going to follow their passion. By taking this leap of faith, the chances of having monetary success skyrocket due to the obvious desire to work.

Every college student wants to become successful and leave a stamp on the world. But how? What is the best plan of action when it comes to finding the inner passion that propels individuals towards career success? Below are some suggestions as to how to figure out this life question:

Look to personal strengths and interests: Things that come naturally are not just coincidence; they are the talents that create the spark for a fulfilling career.

Take personality tests: Career Match-up, Myers Briggs, Major Match-up, etc. All are great ways see options and realize personal strengths and characteristics that may have been overlooked.

Research a career: Understand that each job has aspects that are not particularly action-packed. If you have a specific career you are shooting for, interview a few people within that field to find out if it is as good a fit as you thought.

Helen Gurley Brown, an author and former editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan, said, “The only thing that separates successful people from the ones who aren’t is the willingness to work very, very hard.” When one finally finds their passion, working very, very hard doesn’t seem like work at all.