College is a time to weigh all options

By Kimberly Marion

A while back, I had a discussion with a friend about my decision to become a teacher. He told me: “I was going to become a teacher, but they don’t make enough. Don’t get me wrong – I love teaching. It’s just the whole money thing.”

Following this statement, I asked him whether he would rather be happy doing his job and receiving less pay or absolutely hate his job and make quite a bit of money doing it. Well, it is obvious he chose the latter.

Do I agree? No.

As students, our purpose in coming to college is to find a career we will enjoy and be able to earn a living doing it. If I wanted to be stuck at a job I despised, I would not have come to college. I would have went into retail.

But this does bring forth a puzzling question. What does an 18- or 19-year-old know about career options?

Most students go to college with an idea about what they want to do with their life. To be honest, most of our dreams at 18 and 19 are idealistic. Unfortunately, life usually does not turn out that way.

Our navigation through those lovely courses our counselors call “gen-eds” are just classes we need to graduate. Most students do not see these classes as an opportunity to explore possible majors. The gen-eds are courses students take to get to their major classes.

Because of this tunnel vision, many people either change their major their junior year or stay in a major they dislike because they have come so far and do not want to “waste” any more money.

In correlation with the tunnel vision, I have noticed that many freshmen and sophomores want to know what the so-called “easy” majors are. Let me burst your bubble right now and tell you that there are no easy majors. College is work.

However, to make your college education worthwhile, I will advise people to choose something they enjoy because you do not want to waste your own or your parents’ money on a degree that will be unused. Think of some careers you may enjoy and talk to students majoring in the field and go meet the faculty.

There is some good news about gaining a degree in a major you may dislike: Many employers today are willing to accept various degrees for multiple jobs, which means you are not limited to the the specifications of your degree. The only limitation is people’s desire to make a lot of money.

As we forge through these college years, we should become aware of what we want to do and whether the major we have chosen will lead us there.

I would avoid looking at majors based on money for one simple reason: If you are good at what you do, you can make a good living and still love your job.

Do not become a sellout. Do not become that person who hates to wake up in the morning, and the only bright side of the day is going home.

Columns reflect the opinion of the author and not necessarily that of the Northern Star staff.