Your Passions are Not Coincidental: How to Pick Your Career

Soncheree McCampbell, Staff Writer

To make a smart decision you must think with your heart.

Nowhere is this sentiment more important than in college students selecting an appropriate major. In 2017, Abigail Hess of CNBC reported on Bill Gates’ response to what he sees a major issue facing U.S. colleges: dropout rates. According to Gates, 55.2% of students drop out of college in the United States, a number that he calls a serious concern. To me, this statistic is not surprising, because I feel that students entering college choose the wrong majors due to the career they wish to pursue.

It is uncommon to encounter a fellow student who wants to pursue a career because they enjoy it or it is their talent. Instead they choose because of high salaries, stability, and social validation. This is why high paying and well-regarded careers such as lawyers or doctors are held in such regard.

But, what if there is more to life and career than this? What if we factored into the career equation one’s passions in life; wouldn’t that make for a truly rewarding and successful career?

According to the Google Dictionary, passion means: “strong and barely controllable emotion.” Passion is the excitement that you feel when you play the guitar or the eagerness that you feel right before a school presentation. Passion is the happiness you get when you study bugs or the satisfaction you get when writing short stories. However, these passions are commonly set aside and labeled as “hobbies” rather than callings. These passions are gifts that should be seriously considered as one looks for a career because they are the prophecies of people’s true futures.

If all people were to pay attention to their gifts, then society would advance. Imagine the quality and value of music if the best musicians set aside their stethoscopes and picked up their guitars. Imagine the quality of films if the best directors abandoned their paperwork and picked up their megaphones.
This is not to say that a practical and high-paying career is a poor choice or lacks value. No one’s career choice should be considered this way. One’s career is essential in many ways. What I wish to point out is that if being an orthodontist or a psychiatrist does not make you excited, then you should pay attention to what does. If your “calling” is not medicine or marketing, maybe there is a singer or a comedian inside of you. If you focus on what makes your heart happy, you will never be wrong because your feelings are never false. They may be irrational, they may not lead you to wealth or power, but they will never be false.

The Happiness Advantage, a novel by Shawn Achor, suggests that rather than searching for success to achieve happiness, people should search for happiness and success will follow. His words ring true to me, which is why I hope that I will see more students discovering their passion instead of simply settling for a stable job in the hope of acquiring fulfillment.