Love or money: In defence of picking a ‘useless’ degree course

Happiness is the most important thing. Source: Shutterstock.

But you can’t study that! You’ll never make any money. Sound familiar?

Mum, dad, auntie, older brother, favourite sister, teacher, friend, neighbour, random person in the supermarket… They’ve all told you there’s no use in studying fine art, or philosophy, or creative writing. And why? Quite often the answer lies in money.

We are inundated with articles about the ‘most profitable college majors’ and what to study and what not to study if you want a fat wallet. But what if your course doesn’t make the cut? What if the degree path you want to follow is unlikely to land you a BMW and a mansion at the end of it?

Okay, so no degree path can promise you that, but a business, medicine or law degree is likely to put you in a better position to climb that career ladder and make some money.

Naturally, humans want it all, and if the thing you are most passionate about in the world marries both love and the promise of a healthy paycheque then you are one of the lucky ones.

But if not, it can seem impossible what to decide upon – the clear-cut career route with a handsome starting salary, or the one which ignites a fire in your belly yet everyone tells you is ‘useless’.

In truth, a decent degree is a decent degree no matter what it’s in. The majority of degrees equip you with a great set of transferable skills, which mean you will thrive in a number of job roles, so majoring in one ‘useless’ subject is unlikely to mean you are doomed to be unemployed.

If you work hard at it – and if it’s something you love, you are bound to – there’s little reason you can’t turn it into a career.

If you want something enough, and you’re willing to work for it, we believe in you! Source: GIPHY.

It is important to remember that, while your family, friends and teachers’ opinions should be listened to and respected, it is your life, your degree and your future, so the decision is in your hands.

Whatever course you decide upon, keep in mind university should be an education for life and you cannot really capture that if your focus is solely on making money.

There always tends to be a huge focus on the financial gain of a degree – and why wouldn’t there be? Studying is a monumental investment of time, emotional energy and money, so naturally, no one wants to come out of their degree unemployable – there would be little point in going.

In truth, it’s unlikely to be as easy to get a well-paid job right off the bat in art, philosophy or literature. You are pretty unlikely to get scouted as a young graduate and go on to make millions, going down in history as the next Picasso, Plato or JK Rowling.

But if you enjoy what you do, you will improve, and as you improve you are likely to climb higher in your chosen profession, celebrate more successes, and, let’s face it, probably make some money.

What’s the use in spending three or more years of your life paying and working for something you don’t really enjoy? What’s the use of having an impressive career behind you if you hate going to work every single day?

It sounds airy-fairy to say follow your dreams and the rest will fall into place, but if you find something you love, and work at it – really work at it – you might just get there. And you will have spent that time doing something you love, not slaving away at something you hate.

Love what you do, and happiness should follow. Source: GIPHY.

As Steve Jobs famously said: “The only way to do great work is to love what you do”.

At the end of the day, only you know what is best for you… But, just remember: money doesn’t equal happiness, and happiness trumps money every time.

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