There Is No Such Thing as a "Practical" Major

By Nikki Hipolito on August 2, 2013

Photo taken from The Washington Post

This summer has been one giant roller coaster for me. With the falling through of my internship at the last minute and too much family drama for me to deal with, I’ve been counting down the days to go back to school since day one. So you can imagine the amount of time that I have had on my hands since I’ve been home for the summer.

However, with so much time on my hands I can’t help but start to think about everything in my life. Often times I find myself thinking way too much and over thinking every minute detail of my future, and that is exactly where I found myself over the past couple months. The falling through of my internship sparked the re-evaluation of my college major decisions and my future career prospects. Was getting a communication degree worth it? Will people look down on me for getting a ‘useless’ degree instead of going for something more reasonable? Even though I like the major, will I still get the same educational value as any other pre-med or engineering major? This is coming from the girl who has already changed her major at least seven times over the past two years. So when summer rolled around and I had nothing to do with my time, I thought I wanted to go back into pre-med and I figured I’d get myself a ‘practical’ degree. Taking science classes in summer school, I thought this was the right choice and I knew that the future would look bright for me. However, when I truly started to think about this new future I was setting myself up for, I didn’t know if I was truly happy this way. Sure, doctors are highly respected in society and the salary makes up for the long work hours and years of med school (and in no way, shape, or form am I insulting or degrading doctors!). But to me, a doctor didn’t seem like a career for me, even though I would have a so-called ‘set future.’

So why are so many college students pressured to study a ‘reasonable’ or ‘practical’ degree by parents, relatives, and society in general? What I believe most people fail to recognize is that a college degree is an education despite your major. When looking at a student studying pre-med next to a student studying English or Women’s Studies, both students (regardless of certain classes) are expanding their knowledge of the world, interacting with other people of different cultures, absorbing new ideas from others and sharing their own, learning to become more well-rounded citizens of society, and persevering through four years of continuous studies to obtain a college degree. That, my friends, is an education, which I think is the most valuable asset a person could obtain.

I am a firm believer in following your dreams and pursuing your passions. If you want to pursue a theatre degree and star on Broadway, do it. If you want to become a doctor and work overseas for Doctors Without Borders, do it. Or if you want to become a doctor and study theatre, then do it! Happiness is the key to a successful future, and you can’t live in fear of trying something you’ve always wanted to try. Money cannot be your guide to find a career or live a happy and fulfilling life, and money is often the main issue for individuals and families living with many stresses. I believe that if you follow your dreams, then everything else will fall into place.

But what I am really trying to say is f*** society and do what you love to do! Otherwise, you’re going to be miserable your entire college career and probably the rest of your life. It’s ok to make mistakes because this is the perfect time in your life to make them. It’s ok to change your major ten times (I’m probably on my way there!). It’s ok to not know what you wanna do for the rest of your life right now. Even if you’re still unsure of what kind of career you plan on pursuing, you have the rest of your life to figure it out. My word of advice is to follow your passions, do what you love, and enjoy college. Your life does not depend on what your college major is. In fact, this is just the beginning to the rest of your life.

“The goal of education is the advancement of knowledge and the dissemination of truth.” ~John F. Kennedy

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