Steve Jobs famously said that “the only way to do great work is to love what you do”,and many would be inclined to agree. But when it comes to choosing what subject to study at degree level, it isn’t quite that simple. Should you opt to study what you are passionate about? Or should you consider what would offer the best return on investment when it comes to job prospects after graduation? It will come as no surprise that the answer to these questions will differ greatly depending on who you speak to.
Following your heart to study what you are passionate about
University education has become far more accessible in recent years, and a much wider range of subjects are being studied. Obtaining a degree is no longer considered to be solely about academics. Students are now considering how to make the most of university as an overall experience. Although recent reports would suggest that tuition fees won’t be rising any time soon, the current cost is still likely to have an effect on what students choose to prioritize.
When choosing to spend 3 years studying a subject in great depth, the likelihood of you succeeding at it increases if you’re enjoying what you do. Education is about more than just achieving the desired grades. A student should consider their happiness and sense of fulfillment also. There is nothing wrong with pursuing your interests as long as you are sure of what they are. If you have put thought into your subject choice and can display a real passion for it, it can never be considered a waste. Regardless of how others may deem your choice, if you are at university to learn, you are there for the right reason, whatever the subject may be.
Choosing a degree based on career prospects
It would seem that we are constantly being encouraged to ‘follow our dreams’. The problem is, dreams are not enough to shield us from the harsh realities that life can present, and many of those harsh realities lie within today’s employment market. With more students attending university than ever before, you will be faced with stiff competition for jobs when you graduate. Making sure you stand out will be difficult, so having a well thought out strategy in place will be beneficial.
When it comes to subject choice, identifying your academic strengths is a good placeto start. Think about what will lead to the best career prospects and present you with the least restrictions. You may not be passionate about the subject, but you may have a gift for it, and if the career prospects for the subject are better, it may just be the way to go. Many make the mistake of choosing to study subjects that relate to what they are passionate about as a hobby, which can sometimes be detrimental when considering certain career paths.
The truth is, whether you choose to study something you are passionate about oropt for a subject that presents more options for climbing the career ladder, you are likely to find your initial steps into the working world a struggle. If you’re fortunate enough to choose a subject that ticks both boxes, be sure to make the most of it.