Should I major in something practical or in something I love?

architect with blueprintLife’s too short to spend 40+ hours a week at a job you hate. If you’re reading this, you’re probably considering a major at a liberal arts college or one that doesn’t lead to a direct career path. I definitely believe you should do what you love. That said, there are a few things to consider before you major in your passion. You might be able to find the right balance between practical and fun.

Do some investigating. What do people with a major in journalism, photography, or Russian literature do these days? The job market is constantly shifting and it’s good to know what that major is going to prepare you for.  You might just find that the career path the major leads you to isn’t necessarily where you want to go.

Don’t limit yourself to certain career paths. Just because a major leads you in a certain direction doesn’t mean you have to follow it. Liberal arts majors are especially flexible. And for certain majors like Ancient Greek or the study of WWII, there really aren’t many clear cut paths to begin with.

Be practical. If you love learning new languages but all those literature courses seem as boring as watching paint dry, take it as a sign that you should look for another major. If you love to dance but you don’t see yourself teaching or you’re not good enough to get called back from auditions, a dance major might not be the best option.

Minor in your hobby. A minor is a good alternative because you’ll be able to study something you love without the pressure of deciding what to do with it after graduation.

Consider a double major. If you’re truly torn between several majors, a double major may be an easy fix. This is also a great way to major in something you love and combine it with something practical.

Be open to other areas to use your talent. Let me give you an example. If you love theater, what is it that you like about it? If you love designing the set, consider a career in design. If you are a great manager, you might do well in business. You can easily use those majors in the theater world, but you also won’t be limited to one sector.

Make your own plan. If your parents are particularly worried about what you’re going to do after graduation, have a plan. It’ll help you get ready for the future and it’ll ease their worries a little bit. It’s best if you have some real life examples of what people have done with similar majors.

Consider graduate school. Even if you do everything right, majoring in what you love might not be enough to get the job you want, and graduate school just might help you get there. If you know you’ll attend graduate school, it might ease the pressure a little bit of what you major in now.

The downside to a career in your hobby. I loved photography in high school. I could spend every day shooting pictures and in the darkroom if I could. But I didn’t major in it. I didn’t even minor in it. Why? I talked to a family friend who did major in photography. She said that studying it was great, but once she had a boss and deadlines, it took all of the fun and creativity out of it. So remember that what you love about French or literature or ceramics probably won’t be there once you have deadlines to meet.


>>My family is pressuring me to major in science but I hate it. What do I do?


>>8 questions to ask yourself when choosing a major