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Megan Charles / Her Campus Media

The Specialty of an Unspecialized Degree

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Toronto MU chapter.

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

As a child, I never had an answer to this question. I had various interests: I loved dribbling a basketball up and down the court; I loved solving for x to find the roots of an equation; and, I loved designing outfits for every little occasion. As I grew up, the list of interests only continued to grow with me. However, I never found myself chasing after one dream as I couldn’t give up the rest. 

When it came time for university applications last year, I applied to numerous business programs as I felt it would be an open-ended option. Yet, as the months passed by and acceptances started to roll in, I knew a part of me wanted to explore other options. The night before the deadline, I applied to a few alternative programs, one of which was Creative Industries at Ryerson University. This interdisciplinary program appealed to me as it offered courses in business and countless module options from interior design, music management and fashion markets to media studies, such as journalism, storytelling and publishing. I ended up selecting this program over my other options. Within a mere fraction of my university experience, I can already say that I made the right choice by selecting such an open-ended and customizable degree. As someone that has numerous interests, I am able to fulfill all these interests each and every semester. At first, I was worried the creative industries program would feel like obtaining several minors instead of fulfilling a single major. My mindset on this has since changed, as I have found the degree to be both versatile and applicable to my future. Reflecting on my rationality behind choosing this program, I have identified a few reasons that may also help others in search of their perfect fit.

It allows me to discover more career options

In high school, most students are set on similar career paths. Science students pursue careers in medicine and engineering, while business students aim for corporate roles in accounting, finance, and consulting. There are some students that dream of becoming a teacher or lawyer, but I was always frustrated that these few careers didn’t appeal to me. Although most people enter their post-secondary education with a career in mind, I entered it in search of my career. Within half a semester of my unspecialized program, I have discovered countless career options that differ greatly from the handful I was exposed to just a few months ago. I am confident this one degree will allow me to gain enough insight into each field as I continue to explore all my options.

It can actually leave more doors open

Although there are some careers in which a specialized degree is needed, such as becoming a nurse or engineer, I feel that an unspecialized degree opens more doors in terms of a diverse array of job options. Students in my program have such different aspirations from working in copywriting to becoming a festival manager; the versatility of the degree allows this all to be possible. Although some career paths will be closed off, it opens a path that leads to much more. 

I don’t feel like I’m missing out

As someone who questioned my top choice program for months, I was torn on the idea of missing out. I didn’t want to miss out on the safety of a business degree. I didn’t want to miss out on the excitement of a journalism degree. I didn’t want to miss out on the knowledge of a literature degree. In this unspecialized program, however, I am able to gain all these experiences which ultimately satisfies my interests. I know that if I had chosen just one of these passions, I would always feel a certain sense of unfulfilling guilt. 

I can always become specialized in the future

I have always been open to the idea of furthering my education through grad school. Coming into my first year of the program, I knew that if I ever wanted to specialize in a field, I would be able to do so, from accounting to fashion design. Studying a diverse array of courses that I take great interest in also allows me to do better academically, which would help with grad school applications in the future. 

Overall, an unspecialized degree has its benefits over a concentrated field of study. However, this program may not be suited for everyone and it is important to figure out what works for each individual. Ultimately, this degree works for me and my interests and I am satisfied with my decision. 

To answer the initial question of “what do you want to be when you grow up?” my answer remains the same: I don’t know, but what I do know now is that my unspecialized degree can get me to where I need to be. 

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Jessica Ho

Toronto MU '24

Hi! This is the contributor account for Her Campus at Ryerson.