Adrian Suarez-Avila/ Staff Writer
Elena Martinez can’t help but wish she were someplace else instead of taking notes during lectures on the digestive system.
“I would rather be singing,” said the senior biology major. “Singing is what I love to do, but I don’t think I’ll be financially stable if I followed my passion.”
In a national study of more than 1.2 million 2013 high school graduates, only 36 percent chose a major that was a “good fit” based on their interests while 32 percent selected a major that was considered a “poor fit.”
Given today’s difficult economic conditions, students are oftentimes left to defer plans of following their ambitions in order to major in fields that, although don’t necessarily encompass their interests, will lead to profitable careers.
“Once, I thought of becoming a history professor,” said Manny Gonzalez, freshman computer science major. “But you really can’t make much money doing that.”
Several other students interviewed at the University confessed to putting their dreams on hold in order to pursue studies in areas that may lead them to enjoying financially stable futures, futures that may not be able to provide them with the intrinsic satisfaction they desire.
What should students consider doing when faced with the difficult decision to either follow their hearts or go for the cash?
“Follow your passion,” said April Lewis, senior academic advisor at FIU’s Academic Advising Center. “To an employer, people are dispensable.
[pullquote]”If a student pursues a career in something he or she loves and gets fired, then that student can go somewhere else and find another way of doing what he or she loves.”[/pullquote]
Majoring in a field one is interested in has its perks.
Research has shown that students who major in subjects they’re passionate about fare better academically.
Although the prospect of practicing a lucrative vocation is an endearing one, some students cannot help but wish to find a middle ground between what they really love to do and what they believe will allow them to make money.
In some cases, students find ways to do just that.
“I love to dance, but I don’t see myself as a professional dancer because it’s not a stable profession,” said Lina Galeano, a freshman majoring in chemistry. “I want to be a forensic pathologist, but I’m in a dance group here at FIU and it serves as an incentive for me to get my work done.”
For other students, the struggle is not choosing between happiness and money or ways of combining the two. Instead, the real struggle is selecting a major in the first place.
Don’t freak out, Panthers, FIU has your back.
Students having trouble determining what major will best suit their interests should take advantage of the resources provided by the University.
Students who face difficulties in deciding on an academic track should consider the Exploratory program, which allows them to sample a variety of course offerings while receiving guidance from University professionals in order to save them time.
Others can take the University’s online assessment, MyMajorMatch, to get a sense of what professional fields seem to be good fits for their individual strengths and interests, or simply visit the Academic Advising Center to receive guidance.
“We have several tools that students can use,” said Lewis. “We want students to explore, find out what will be a good fit and then focus in order to graduate in a timely manner.”
Others can also take advantage of the resources provided by the Career Services office.
“Students need to find something that drives them to wake up in the morning,” said Darren Gregory, assistant director of Career Services. “[At the office], we have several resources students can use to figure out what they want in life and we want them to explore.”
According to Gregory, the Career Services office offers tools for students to find internships that match their career aspirations. In addition to this, students can also visit the office to take the Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator and the Strong Interest Inventory tests to determine professional fields that may be of interest to them.