It’s no secret – many students are attending university without a solid grasp of what it is they want to do in their lives. They may delay the declaration of a major until the last possible moment, and when they are finally forced to make a choice, they default to a major that has the potential to pay the greatest amount of money.
Is that the best way to choose a major? There are at least five reasons why you may want to consider factors that have nothing to do with money, before settling on a major.
You Better REALLY Like What You’ll Be Doing – You’ll Be Doing It Your Whole LifeWhile you are in university preparing for a lifetime career, it may be difficult to grasp the idea that the field that you are majoring in right now will define the career you will have for the rest of your life. Making money is important, there’s no question about it. But since you are talking about the rest of your life, money alone may not be enough to motivate you to carry on day after day, year after year.
If the work that you’re doing isn’t something that you actually like to do, your entire life could become an exercise in drudgery – no matter how well you’re doing financially. You may find yourself spending much of your career wishing and searching for an alternative that you will find more fulfilling on a personal level.
Majoring In A Career That You’re Well Suited For
Students often choose majors without considering whether or not they are well-suited for them on a personal and emotional level. For example, you may decide to go in engineering because it is a field that traditionally pays well above average compensation. But what if you don’t have the kind of intensity that an engineering career requires? You could be setting yourself up for career failure. In the real world that happens, and not infrequently.
Whatever it is you choose to major in, make sure that is a career that will suit your personal preferences. If you are a creative person, you probably won’t want to go into any kind of number crunching careers, such as accounting or financial planning. If you prefer working outdoors, you may not find a computer related career to be terribly fulfilling.
Personality has to be factored into your career decision, and that should be reflected in the major that you choose.
The Careers That Pay Well Right Now May Not In The Future
This has become a career “X” factor these days. Just because a career field pays well now doesn’t mean that it will by the time you graduate, or even a few years after that. Technology and globalization are changing the job market, creating new fields while destroy old ones. Whatever major you choose to go into should be one that will provide you with a decent amount of flexibility that will allow you to make changes and adjustments as necessary.
Once again, if it is the kind of work you would like to do – and it should enable you to be productive at the highest level – there’s a very good chance that you will make more money over your lifetime in that field than in one of the better paying ones today.
It Will Do You Little Good To Enter A Career You Have Little Aptitude For
At the extreme of student majors, some students choose a course of study that they have no aptitude in. Again, this is not an uncommon outcome when money is the primary driver in making a career decision.
Whatever major/career you choose to study, make sure it’s one that you have an aptitude for. If you’re trying to major in healthcare, but have no real hunger to learn what makes the human body tick, or a sense of compassion for people in failing health, you’re probably choosing the wrong major.
Inventory your interests, experiences, and skills to determine where your aptitudes lie, and use that as a guide to help you in choosing your major. The idea isn’t to force yourself into a certain major, but rather to choose a major that fits who you are.
It Really Is True – Money Isn’t Everything
Though money is a common motivator, it doesn’t always leave people where they think it will. If you major in a career field that you really aren’t particularly interested in, you could end up spending your life working in a field where your day-to-day life is very mechanical. You may get the fat paycheck that you are looking for, but it could be a life without much meaning apart from earning money.
While it is true that you can find fulfillment in life beyond your career, it’s also important to understand that your career will be your life’s work, and what you’ll be doing every day until you retire. You can choose now to create a fulfilling life – or opt for the best paycheck that will get you to retirement 40 years later.
That’s a long time to be doing something that you don’t particularly like.
Was money a deciding factor in choosing your major?