Go Ahead, Study What You Love

American students pay more for their college education than ever before, so it's not surprising that they want to get the most out of their investment. The trouble starts when people start trying to force themselves to be interested in majors they couldn't care less about.


(Photo Credit: Nathan Oliver Photography/Flickr)

Madeleine Douglass at Levo League recently wrote an account of her struggle to reconcile practicality and passion. After stints studying biology, psychology, and international relations, she found herself in law school -- only to realize that she wasn't interested in practicing the type of law she focused on in school.

"What was I to do?" she writes. "I had spent all of my time and energy building up a resume that said I wanted to be a criminal defense attorney, but I wanted to practice civil litigation, an area in which I had no hands-on experience. I lamented, groaned, moped, and then (with the help of some friends and the law school career counselor) I finally realized that all of my experiences had given me transferable skills."

By concentrating on the skills that would enable her to succeed in the workplace, Douglass found her niche. You can do likewise, by:

1. Focusing on commonalities.

Chances are, the job you're applying for and the courses you chose to take in college have something in common. Emphasize those similarities in your interview process.

2. Demonstrating success.

As Douglass points out, employers want to see that you can succeed in their workplace. Draw attention to the skills that enable you to get along with others and work toward a common goal.

3. Remembering that you're never stuck.

Life is a marathon, not a sprint. The detours you take make you into the person and the professional you are. Spending time working on things you're passionate about only makes you into a more well-rounded candidate when it comes time to apply for jobs.

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