SFU graduate says study what you love

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Speaking from personal experience, choosing a degree is hard. It’s perhaps one of the most stressful things you will ever do after high school. Honestly, even if it took longer than I planned, I don’t regret switching from a science-based health program to an arts-based one in order to find the right fit for my strengths. It’s important to choose a subject that genuinely interests you, instead of how employable it makes you.

During university, you are encouraged to make your own decisions and find your own path instead of following the opinions of your parents and teachers. Studying what interests you is perhaps the best way to not only open more opportunities, but achieve success in life.

The value of a degree should not be based solely on the merits of how employable it makes you. I find that this mindset tends to lead to over-fixation on a single goal. This is a shame, as the first year of university is the best time to experiment and find your calling. Oftentimes you will find that you are playing to your strengths when you stumble upon a subject you are passionate about.

The university programs at SFU are structured in a way that allows you to take courses outside of your major. However, I find my peers too often squander this opportunity and take only the bare minimum. If your sole goal is to get a job right after graduation, there are cheaper alternatives, such as technical schools. When you come to university, you come to learn, and finding a successful job afterwards is a side benefit to this.

If you have a passion for something, you will certainly find a way to make it work for you.

On the other hand, I agree that getting a university education is a hefty investment, one which many hope will net them substantial returns. But as a university student you are trained to think critically and problem solve; you can take what you’ve learned from your degree and apply it to other career paths. Someone with a genuine interest in what they are studying should research all possible paths available to them. If you have a passion for something, you will certainly find a way to make it work for you.

Aside from the personal benefits to your well being in enjoying what you do, having a genuine interest in a topic means that you are more likely to understand it, instead of just memorizing and regurgitating course material until the end of the semester.

To be poetic, when you study something you enjoy, you take the information you find and make it part of yourself. As a result, you are more likely to do well in classes because of your interest, as opposed to obligation.

Another benefit is that you are able to share a common interest with your professors, which can help build connections later in your career. Success in academics opens up other opportunities in the long run, such as internship possibilities and financial awards. These can help ease your financial burden in university and prepare you in your future career.

In the end, you must make whatever you feel is the right decision. However, there are few reasons not to study what you want. Even if you do choose to focus on a more job-oriented approach, taking a minor to further supplement your current program can benefit you in the long run. Studying what you love will ultimately lead you to a happier life.