Saturday, November 14, 2009

Passion or Practicality

During the course of the last two years, many of my friends have changed their life courses in ways drastically different from the Jesuit, liberal arts college prepared them to live their lives.
One is working in make up, contemplating cosmetology school. This makes total and complete sense to me. She was always the one to notice my new nail polish or complement the effect I had created with my eye shadow.
Another is enrolled in the French Culinary Institute. Again, she is the friend who drops off cookies, apple bread, and mini cupcakes at my apartment.
I have several friends who changed career course to become teachers, and many who began that path right out of high school. In the past year, I have four friends who have decided to pursue medicine or nursing.
Many of these paths make sense. Like a final puzzle piece put into place, it just seems right. The career matches their interests, and I am happy the universe has revealed the right way to put their passion to use in the long run.
I mean, that is what we are all trying to do anyways, find a job doing something we enjoy so working isn't work, but fulfillment. At least that's what they've been telling us all through college. The one thing that bothers me is that I wonder if these careers are more of a means to obtain a steady job in these tough economic times the security of a defined profession without having to search out your own niche in the world. I do not presume to say that any of my friends are doing it for these reasons, or even if they are that it is wrong. But, it makes me wonder if more people are entering these positions to create a stable future for themselves rather than for love of the trade.
I have had discussions about how college doesn't really prepare you for a job/life anymore. Simply having the degree does not guarantee success anymore. You need to specialize, to choose the right major, intern intern intern to get experience, and then know the right person to get in the door. Liberal arts education does little to emphasize the highly practical knowledge of which degree will give you access to which jobs, how to invest in the stock market, or the value of keeping in touch with past employers for references. The focus is on finding your passion and hoping the rest will pan out.
Unfortunately, for most, in this recession, that has not been happening. My mother has been trying to convince me to go all the way, to turn my Sociology Master's into a PhD for the cushy lifestyle and the amazing schedule. I admit, I am tempted by summers off, long holiday breaks. I do love Sociology, but not enough to have to write papers on it, and teach it everyday for the rest of my life. It is a strong interest of mine, but not my only passion, and well, I'm just not ready to throw in the towel on those yet, even for what would be an incredibly practical decision.

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