After going to a public high school for four years, I experienced the same courses that just about any average American high school students would. Nope, no fancy fine arts institute, just super limited opportunities to get experience and very limited number of internships available for future careers. Of course, that isn’t applicable to all Americans, but for me, it was one of the biggest downsides of living in a small town. Everyone took the same core classes. You know, the four different science and math credits and the writing composition courses. We spent four years of our lives going through the robotic motions of those courses that by the time we got out, the majority of us didn’t have a clue what we really wanted to pursue. Yeah, we had the leeway to take courses like “Floral Design” or “Principles of Agriculture,” but who really ended up owning a flower shop and remembering everything they learned in high school about agriculture?
Although I didn’t feel victimized by the “robotic core curriculum” situation, I know it played a vital role in deciding what I wanted to pursue. Science and math classes were definitely the most accessible and emphasized in a world of potential doctors and engineers. As a health nut and nutrition connoisseur, I spent most of my senior year set on the idea of becoming a nutritionist. People always told me “Do what you’re passionate about,” so naturally, that was my first impulse. Despite having a long list of other interests and hobbies, I found it difficult to pin-point other specific jobs I could even consider. The only real problem I came across deciding on nutrition? Chemistry and math were not my forte. I avoided math and science courses at all costs. That is when I came to the realization I needed to think realistically when considering my major.
This goes for most students as well. Have you considered the advantages and disadvantages of your high school education in pursuing the career of your dream? If not, here’s what you should take into account when debating what path to take.
1. Are you thinking emotionally or logically?
In the emotional perspective, it is easy to make decisions based on how you feel instead of logistics. In the midst of chaos during senior year, I felt as if I was scrambling to find something I felt passionate towards to build my future around. When you go by your first feeling, you cancel out everything else and stop your research. To make the most of your decision, take into consideration what your current choice means to you. Think about it in both emotional and logical perspectives. Can you handle the courses? Are there any other majors or careers you have yet to explore and haven’t given a chance? When you choose a hobby, you stick to it because its in your comfort zone. If you haven’t thought about other important factors besides your comfort, such as salary, future stability or work/life balance when considering turning your hobby into your career, that’s a good place to start.
Deciding on a specific career before choosing a major could help you look at all the different factors of the field of study you’ve decided on. Do you like to take risks? Do you feel positive about your future success when you choose a major following your hobby? Make sure to look at all the aspects that come into play when deciding what you want to pursue. I felt total stability in the idea of routing down into the medical field because most medical careers are specific and concrete. However, thinking logically, I wasn’t sure how amazing my grades would be when focusing on math and science, as opposed to being able to focus on my strengths in English, history and fine arts.
2. Do you think you’ll get tired of the hobby?
An example of this is when a student has been playing a sport his/her whole life, but doesn’t sign to play for a school in order to focus full-time on his/her college education. I have been involved in healthy cooking and nutrition researching my whole life, but I felt as if I would lose the fun in it all if I focused on it as a career. Choosing a major outside of that spectrum would allow you to broaden your knowledge on other interests you have yet to explore. Repetition is another big deciding factor in turning your hobby into your career because it’s what you’ll be doing and learning over and over again throughout college. Practice makes perfect, but would you feel comfortable pursuing this hobby as an everyday practice? I knew I wouldn’t enjoy nutrition as much if I was learning to apply ridiculous concepts, like stoichiometry, on a daily basis into my knowledge on the topic
3. Lastly, super cliché, but always stay true to yourself.
Have you been convinced by your mom, dad, relatives or even friends that your hobby is the perfect fit for your career pursuit? The opinions of the people you care about in life are important, but always try to identify how you feel before learning how your peers feel. For the most part, all my friends and family know what a health fanatic I am. They convinced me nutrition would be the perfect opportunity for me especially because it was in the medical field. Your family and friends want the best for you, but your intuition might be different in some situations. Following your heart and staying realistic to your personal goals are important when you’re getting opinions from so many different perspectives.
After my research and so much trial and error, I learned a lot about myself and branched away from the idea of pursuing nutrition. Instead, I found that applying my favorite hobbies into a separate field will allow me grow my knowledge while keeping in touch with what I’m passionate about. Being a theatre buff my whole life, yet not necessarily wanting to major in theatre, I came to the conclusion I want to become a news anchor or broadcast journalist. I feel confident in this path because of its courses, my strong theatre background, and my consistent drive to excel in a field that does not guarantee a career as concrete as the medical field. When you aren’t majoring in your hobbies, you have the opportunity to become a jack of all trades. There are multiple opportunities to find a career that you love even if you aren’t the most familiar with it.