I caught on to her situation because of the questions she was being asked:
“So have you picked a major?” — “Have you been accepted anywhere yet?” — “Have you decided where you’re going?” — “When will you be finished?”
She was clearly a senior in high school faced with the difficult questions that go hand-in-hand with preparing for graduation:
- Which college?
- What major?
- When will I know?
- How do I choose?
In other words: What happens next?
I remember how stressful that time of my life was…
The number of different college programs was overwhelming…
The application process was tedious…
Applying to a college guaranteed nothing…
There was no telling when you’d hear if you were accepted…
Enrollment deadlines and the end of senior year were approaching…
…and I remember panicking as a result of all the stress I was under.
At the time, I imagined the decision I made regarding college would be the most important decision I made in my life. I was under the impression that my fate rested upon that single decision because the choice I made would start a life-long chain of events:
- The college would affect the friends and professors I would meet.
- My friends and professors would affect the quality of my education.
- The quality of my education would affect my future career path.
- My future career path would affect my future success.
- My future success would affect my future happiness.
Note: I admit to being incredibly naive at the time.
Although I realize the extent of my naivety now, back when I was facing the different college choices these thoughts daily haunted my mind. I was convinced that my entire future would be affected by my decision. Consequently, I was confused, scared, and desperate for advice.
I sensed the same confused desperation in this girl seated across from me.
“I think I’m going to go into Communications,” she explained, “because my dad said it would make a lot of money.”
I winced — the same bad advice led me into a college curriculum I disliked. My computer talents caused people I knew to constantly make the same suggestion: “Get a computer science degree — you’ll make a fortune.”
She continued, saying: “I actually don’t know what Communications is about, but it’s better than listing ‘Undecided’ as my major.”
I winced again — a memory of my older brother came to mind. He went to college for only one year, majoring in Mechanical Engineering. The problem was, he knew nothing about the subject. His high school guidance counselor pushed him into choosing something so he wouldn’t have to start college “Undecided.” Choosing something he knew nothing about, as it turned out, caused him to drop out within a year.
The more I heard from this girl, the more I wanted offer her some simple advice: Do what interests you.
Doing something for money will lead you to a life you have no passion for.
Doing something because someone else told you to will lead to the same.
Here this girl was following the advice of her father, who was encouraging her to choose a major she knew nothing about with monetary incentive. It was a recipe for disaster.
Unable to hold my tongue any longer, I suggested that she reconsider her choice of major. I explained that it was unwise to choose a major based on money, or at someone else’s suggestion.
“Just do what interests you,” I said. “And if you don’t know what interests you, that’s alright. In fact, I think that’s common. Start undecided, fill your first semester schedule with intro courses, and find out what interests you.”
When you’re interested in something you’re bound to do well in it.
Don’t make the same mistake I made — if you do something in the interest of money, you’re just wasting time. Just do what interests you, and have fun.
|If you've found this website helpful, please click the PayPal button. You will be helping me pursue my dream career as a writer. Thanks for your support!|