In the fast-paced, goal-driven society that is the United States, citizens always seem to be wanting more. More money, more power, more prestige, more material possessions. With this intense desire for “more,” individual success is based on one’s career. Certain occupations in the workforce hold more leverage and garner more respect. Intelligence and motivation are somehow linked to one’s career choice; people are not judged on character but their place on the social ladder.
This way of thinking translates to college campuses across the nation. The government and society are persistently encouraging students into pursuing STEM degrees (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), and liberal arts degrees are always under siege. The future of the United States’ competitiveness and future economic prosperity depends on STEM careers. And hey, earning one of these degrees provides job stability and ultimately more money for the student.
I’m not here to knock those degrees at all. We need students pursuing those degrees. However, when there is such a push toward one educational area, we lose sight of what is important. We stop viewing students as individuals with passions and talents, but judge one’s value in life on an educational choice.
Students often judge one another based on choice of major. If you’re a science major, you must be very intelligent and motivated. If you’re an art major, you must not have any drive. Finance major? Wow, they have to be boring. I’ve heard it myself on a daily basis. I’m a PR major, so I must lack drive and go for the easy classes, right?
Such accusations are so far from the truth. One’s passions and talents should not be a measurement of motivation and intelligence. In order to excel in any field, students most possess drive and determination. Intelligence is not black and white, but manifests in many forms. It is not the choice of major or career path that determines one’s success, but a student’s ability to utilize their strengths and have the courage to follow their passions in life.
We need the scientists, doctors, mathematicians, nurses and engineers. But we also need the artists, the journalists, the teachers, entrepreneurs and the nonprofit leaders. It does take some insane courage to go through the hell of pre-med. But it also takes courage to become an artist when everyone is telling you otherwise. While engineering students have the intense drive to complete their rigorous coursework, journalism students also push their drive to the limit, working late hours to reach deadlines and handling multiple stories at once. A biology major must have the intellect to be successful in his/her research, but a nonprofit leadership student needs the strategic mindset to make a true difference in the community.
Bottom line: don’t let anyone belittle your passions. Your happiness should not be sacrificed to impress others by pretending to be someone you’re not. As corny as it sounds, follow your heart, for that’s where true success lies. I did, and here I am having the amazing opportunity to make a difference through VoiceBox Media with my internship.
Don’t just merely exist in this world. Truly live. Embrace every precious moment by letting your passions drive your purpose.