How to: Choose an Area of Study

In college, it’s a major, in some schools, it’s a specialization or concentration, but no matter what you call it, your area of study is extremely important, and unfortunately, American culture puts immense pressure on teenagers to choose an area of study.

It’s really an unfair system, because we tell kids from kindergarten-12th grade what to do, how to behave, etc., but then expect them to decide what to do with the rest of their lives immediately. They’re also expected to stick to that area of study and it typically should be an area that leads to careers associated with wealth.

Here’s the thing. You don’t have to chose, not now, not ever. You can literally just work at whatever job sounds good and pays the bills for the rest of your life. Not everyone has a magical calling that they can do for a living and make all the money in the world.

On the other side of the coin, if you know you love art, medicine, law, politics, education, etc., go to school for that. You’ll either find that your love for that field is enhanced and you excel, or you learn that sure, law sounds nice, but maybe it’s not for you, and that’s okay. Major changing is totally okay, and anyone that says you must graduate college in four years needs a reality check. Opinions and ideas change, and it’s better to change your major and spend an extra year in college than to graduate with a degree you’ll never use.

Also, don’t be afraid to choose an area that people don’t immediately connect to a wealthy career. Example, I’m a Women and Gender Studies major, and a lot of people can’t immediately connect that to a career, and usually they assume I’m going to be a protestor for a living (shit, if that paid the bills, I’d do it), but they don’t realize that I can do just about anything I want with this degree, and the doors open up way more if I decide to get a Masters, even more if I get a Ph.D.

Really, the moral of the story here is that you don’t need to pick something specific and stick to it right now, especially if the idea of school doesn’t excite you–why potentially go into debt doing something you hate? Do what feels right and don’t let anyone tell you that what you choose to study or do with your life is wrong.

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