Passion or paycheck: More students choose careers that pay

Staff Writer

“My major isn’t my passion. But it’s going to get me a good job.”

This perspective on majors is one that is being echoed across the country.

According to a report in USA Today, nearly one-third of this year’s freshman class plans to major in something that has no relation to their personal interests. This statistic is certainly not lost here at Franciscan University of Steubenville.

While this occurs for many more reasons than one, the most obvious and outstanding answer is money. Students across the country are feeling the sting of the economy, and it doesn’t wear off easily. Fear of the inability to begin a career with a less academic major has become prevalent, and students are choosing to drag themselves through degree programs they may not like in hopes of graduating to a good job. This trend has been happening for some time now.

“With the economy the way it is, I can’t afford to do what I really want to do: pet grooming and animal care,” said Rebecca Gagnon, a junior accounting major at Franciscan. “I need to have a major that will give back what I spend on it and gives me a job where I can survive the economy and live comfortably.”

Freshman Annie Foster, however, has a different opinion. Studying English, philosophy and theology, Foster says she is very passionate about her choices.

“Realistically I know that my majors are not the best to get a steady, secure job to procure money,” Foster said. “What I’d love to do most with my majors is to stay at home and write – regardless of the income. Although security in career can be seen as a way to happiness, I’d much rather be doing something I love.”

Foster plans to begin selling her works prior to graduation with the hope of attracting interest in her writing. She has no definitive career plans for after graduation, however.

The report in USA Today also mentioned that while students who major in what they love have a more difficult time procuring steady careers following graduation, they tend to do better academically – a statistic that Foster doesn’t fail to meet. She completed her first semester as a college student on the Dean’s List with a 3.6 GPA.

Gagnon admits she is an average student and has a difficult time paying attention in her classes simply because she does not enjoy them.

Regardless, both students are hoping for the best after graduation. In the end, both agree that it comes down to finding the balance of what you want in life – whether it be graduating college with a secure job or studying what you’re passionate about. If you can find a major that encompasses both, you have found the perfect balance indeed.

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