I have chosen to undertake a degree major that doesn’t necessarily lead to a good career, financially speaking. My family is not supportive as they say they are confused by my choice. They say monetary reward is more important than personal fulfilment. I can see their point, but I don’t want to change my career path – what should I do?
We have all heard the saying ‘do something you love and never work a day in your life’. If you are incredibly passionate about your career, the idea that it’s actually a ‘job’ can seem pretty irrelevant. While it might not be the case for everyone in the world of work, it can be the motivation to drive university students to choose a degree that they really care about. Do you pick a life path because it pays well, or because it sparks your interest? Does money really bring you happiness? These are some of life’s biggest questions and we all face them time and again throughout our lives.
When the time comes to start hunting for that perfect university and ideal course, it’s important to remember what initially drives you to make that decision. It could be a gut feeling, or you might be thinking about the career beyond it. Either way, take a moment to remember why you committed to the course in the first place, knowing that it may not bring you incredible financial benefits. University degrees are often seen in two ways these days; those that offer a route to a specific career relevant to the subject (such as a medical degree leading to becoming a doctor), and those that are perhaps more creative or philosophical in their content. Whilst the first may be seen as a route to higher earnings, the latter type of courses also have much to offer in the way of skills that might not immediately be obvious.
When choosing a degree you need to ask yourself what your priorities are. It sounds to me like you’ve followed your interests and there’s much to be said for that.
Why not take a moment to write a list of all the personal and academic skills you will gain over your course, and try to link them to a potential career path – there’s a lot more out there than you think and it’s wise to have a plan A, B and C to get ahead of the game as much as possible. This might go some way in reassuring your parents too as it will signal you’ve really thought about the issue.
Working on a degree and beginning your life as a self-sufficient young adult can be an awkward time for your loved ones around you – it’s an adjustment period for everyone. Boundaries are beginning to be established between you and your family; they don’t have full control over you anymore but still want the absolute best for you. Sometimes that can be hard to get used to. As with any advice or critique, it’s important to take constructive comments on board, seeing it as a chance to assess your situation and potentially improve it. But, if you feel like your current path is the right one for you and you’ve taken your loved ones’ concerns into account, it’s vital to discuss it and state your case as clearly as you can. Make your family aware that if you need help and support you will seek their advice, but emphasise a need to follow your life’s path and for them to trust you.
Everyone has had that moment where they have reached a bump in the road in regards to their life plan. It’s about being able to ride the change and be adaptable that matters. It’s important to follow the path you want to follow. Be prepared for setbacks and for challenges, and always remember, whatever field you’re in there’s no substitute for hard work.
Russell Hemmings is a life coach and cognitive behavioural hypnotherapist, and author of The Mind Diet and Active Positive Parenting. Contact Russell on 055 286 7275 or russellhemmings.co.uk