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Career vs. Passion: Which One Should You Pursue?

What many college students study might be the same thing as their true passions and interests. Engineering majors who want to become engineers one day are on the path to fulfilling their dreams. Students who dream of working in the acting industry accomplish that through their acting degrees…and so on. While these types of students seem to be off to a good start, what about those whose majors widely differ from their passions? What if a math major has always been interested in becoming a writer? What if a computer science major dreams of becoming a professional athlete?

A few weeks ago, I remember having a conversation with my friend, who is currently studying computer science. She is extremely intelligent; she was able to enter college a few years earlier than most high school graduates. There was no surprise that she could excel in almost any major she decided to pursue. 

During the conversation, she asked me this question: “If you had the freedom to choose a major regardless of the salary, which one would you have chosen instead?”

As a business student, I found myself a bit dumbfounded. While it’s true that pursuing a career in the business field has always appealed to me, I never quite put much thought into what I was truly passionate about. 

“Well, probably a theatre major. I’ve always dreamed of becoming an actress,” I replied. I then explained to my friend that I’ve had some acting experience when I was younger, but I didn’t have the chance to pursue it further because I got busy with academics. 

I was surprised to hear that my friend had a similar experience. She told me that she was always interested in entrepreneurship, but she never got the chance to study it because she knew she could have more job security with her current major.

Reflecting back on this conversation, I realized that many students are often pressured, either by their parents, job outlook, or some other factor, to study something that offers them a lucrative career as opposed to one that suits their interests better. 

I might sound cheesy and all, but my piece of advice is this: Find a major that makes you happy. Whether it’s biochemistry, journalism, theatre, etc., I encourage you to study something that fits with your passions and interests. If there is something that you have always been invested in since you were young (it could also be something recent), and you would like to carry it onto a lifelong career, then go for it, despite what others might say. Remember, your health and happiness always comes first. If you prioritize these two things throughout your college career, there’s no doubt that you will find success along the way.

Gennah Penalosa is currently a junior at the Leeds School of Business. During her free time, she likes to draw, play the guitar, and read webcomics.
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