As I finished my high school diploma and getting ready to pursue a bachelor’s degree in political science, I find something interesting. I encounter quite a large number of people of my age being abundantly worried and confused about which college major is worth to choose. They eventually choose a specific major based on job prospects. While I understand where this consternation comes from, given that we need to earn a decent income to live comfortably and to survive in this crazy world, I’d argue that this mindset is not the best one to embrace, at least for me.
For one thing, choosing a college major based on future job outlook tends to be quite stressful. Pursuing fancy majors and therefore having ‘respected’ jobs and stable income is the idea that society dictated us to have. It is what I think as one of the reasons why depression has surged to epidemic levels in recent decades as it has impacted millions of people. Amid complexities of modern life, with all its pressure, many people see life as a showroom, where your job and status define your worth as a human being. I see this as a societal/psychological challenge we have to tackle for a better future.
I think one of the solutions to this problem is to adopt a healthier perspective that we choose a specific major only because we love it and not what other people say. Yes, it is cliche, but I do still find even myself and plenty of people around me being kind of submissive to the external force. When we genuinely love what we study and give the best effort to it, we no longer need to worry about the future job. It will look for us in reverse as we are the experts in whichever field. Besides, all areas of study are equally valuable if you want to take a peek to its essence rather than the value that society gives.
Long before I opt to study political science, I have always been interested in political issues around the world. It can about Jokowi-Prabowo’s presidential race, the Yellow Vest demonstration, the Hongkong anti-extradition bill protest, the Korean conflicts, Theresa May’s resignation, Ibrahim Zakzaky’s political movement in Nigeria, and so on so forth. I wondered what it means to have power? What are state and nation? How some conflict appears and winds down, what is the far-right ideology, traditional conservatism, Marxism, social democracy? All these questions have been lingering on my mind, and I really can’t wait to figure that out. It is safe for me to say that I don’t mind about postgraduate jobs and I’ve stopped caring about a career since I’ve let myself to enroll in this course for the sake of it. I don’t know, but this kind of mindset is somehow liberating like a breath of fresh air.
This thing works if you know yourself and what you love/passionate about. I know a friend of mine who had no idea what major she wanted to pursue. Eventually, she chose whatever option available rather than asses the importance of each option beforehand. If you’re part of the crowd who still haven’t gotten your heart set on any fields of study, it’s okay everyone has their own time. But one thing I want to point out is maybe this plight is what “formal” school accountable for. I argue that schools distract students to freely explore whatever they passionate about by giving too much content, too many subjects. Students are not getting enough time for genuine learning or reflection, and that’s what happened to my friend.
Another thing just to remember why caring about a career before studying in college is no use is that degrees are no longer a guarantee of getting a job or better pay nowadays. It is no secret that information learned during college is not always useful for actual work demands. Unless you opt to work as traditional “professionals” like doctors or engineers, your skills and experiences are much more looked for than your degrees and certificates.
Ever since I started my homeschooling years and having conversations/listening to many activists (SJW, whatever you call it), I’ve come to the conclusion that caring about our career may sometimes characterize us as selfish individuals. It’s like okay, I choose this job because of the money; I want to become more prosperous by myself. Meanwhile, our nation still has a lot of problems, it is burning and choking on its smoke. The education system, mindset, infrastructure, segregation, corruption, lack of identity, social gap are the problems we’re facing. Yet, we choose not to give a damn. I believe that humanity should be our raison d’etre, regardless of what path we’re on. What I mean by that, our job/career shouldn’t be the final goal, because if it is then what’s the point of our existence.
So there you go, I hope this reaches you (and I) well.