Campus Cope: Choosing a career: dreams vs. reality

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Choosing a career is never as cut-and-dry as it seems. No matter how much something catches your eye, it doesn’t mean it’s the most practical job choice. Practicality against genuine enjoyment is the main battle we deal with. Should you dabble in creative arts because you want to become the next J.K. Rowling? Or should you stick to the books and technology and aim for that Ph.D. because you know it’ll bring home a huge salary? On the road to choosing a major that may influence the path you take, you need to keep both in mind — ultimately establishing a nice balance between the two.

Practicality: Yes it sounds boring and very streamlined. But a lot of people end up choosing something more stable because most of the time it breeds better results, in the sense that financially safe jobs are the ones you can rely on when you need to make an honest living. People look at doctors and conceptualize a life of security and enjoyment despite the multitude of years it takes to become one. The menial work and difficult tests don’t prove to be an issue for those who want that type of lifestyle. “I personally wanted to choose creative writing as a major — but I ended up majoring in biochemistry because I know that’ll secure me a decent job out of college,” says third-year student Jessica Nata.

So-called “dream jobs” get romanticized and are coated with all this glitz and glamor when most of the time they aren’t as secure as one would hope. Many parents tell their children that they can be anything they want to be, but not everyone wakes up in the morning and travels to a job they like. Many people find merit in the fact that it keeps them alive, but have a hard time finding an authentic enjoyment from their fruits of labor.

People should aim for the stars but keep their goals grounded. Finding that perfect balance is important if you want the best of both worlds. Don’t simply choose a major because you know it’ll make you money. Money shouldn’t be a complete replacement for happiness. And no, just because you’re making money doesn’t mean you’ll be happy either. You can operate on hundreds of hearts and organs and not be satisfied with your job. And for those doctors who love their job — well they are the few who are able to combine practicality with genuine enjoyment.

If you value happiness and genuine enjoyment over practicality it can also prove troublesome. It may seem like many jobs in the art and writing spectrum are hard to make an honest living from, but in reality, all professions have a competitive edge; it just happens that success in the creative industry is more reliant on talent rather than learned ability. Writers aren’t always valued for their work, and people don’t always appreciate an artist’s craft. If you plan on having a family it’s important that you plan ahead and think long-term.

Finding a delicate balance isn’t easy. But having faith in your major and knowing it will breed the best results possible is truly gratifying. Don’t feel bad if you stray toward one side of the spectrum more than the other. If you are truly having trouble determining your path, seek guidance from a career counselor or someone who has experience in the field you’re interested in.

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