College Students: Follow the Money and Do Not Study What You are Passionate About

Spread the Money


Follow the money and work on what you are passionate about on your spare time until you can make a living out of it.

I heard at a young age that if you do what you love, then you will never have to work a day in your life. I somewhat agree with this term but I have some advice for people that are not sure what to major in college.  When I was in college, I originally wanted to be a journalist, but then I saw what their starting salaries were and I was desperate to move into my own apartment in NYC. So I scraped that. Then I thought about being a Marketing major, but you needed to go to grad school in order to get a decent paying job, so I scraped that too. I changed my major several times but in the end I decided to major in Computer Information Systems. Not because I loved computers, but because I wanted a good paying job right out of college. And I got one.

At that time, the internet bubble was just happening and everyone was hiring left and right for IT professionals. Companies were swooning me almost a year before I graduated college.   I was offered a position in November of 1999 that I accepted and my start date was slated for September the following year. I graduated in May of 2000. Crazy right?  I partied my brains out in my final year of college because I knew I had a nice paying job waiting for me. The lesson here is, follow the money.

I have been working in the Information Technology field for the last 17 years. But I don’t particularly love it.  But I do it for the money. It pays all the bills and I am able to save and invest money as well as go on frequent vacations. I also work reasonable hours which lets me work on this blog and spend time with my loved ones. So I can’t complain. But if I majored in something other than CIS, I don’t think I would have the lifestyle I have now.

I know a few people that have majored in subjects such as Film, Political Science, Anthropology or Psychology. There’s nothing wrong with majoring in these subjects unless you want to be dead broke. Or go back to school (accumulate more debt) and get an advanced degree just so you can get your foot in the door within these fields. And that’s the harsh truth. In my opinion, I do not think students should major in these fields unless you come from a family that has money and can pay your rent and help support you while you dilly dally in whatever floats your boat. If I came from a rich family, I would have probably studied something that was non-money related because I have the luxury to not have to worry about money. But I didn’t.

If you are passionate about something, like music or film and you do not have a trust fund, then don’t study it. Major in Math, Law, Robotics, Engineering, get a good paying job in those fields and then spend your spare time doing what you love on the side. Figure out a way to make a living out of the things you are passionate about. But until then, follow the money.

I know people are going to disagree on my advice about this. But I see too many students that have majored in something like Film and can only get a job making a little more than minimum wage while having student loans to pay back and still living with their parents.  If they majored in something in demand like Science, they would have a much better chance at having a better financial life.  So many better paying job opportunities would be available to you. Ignore this advice if you are a relative of Steven Spielberg and you majored in Film. I am sure you are doing just fine. But for the rest of us, we don’t have it that easy.

If you are interested in living the ‘starving artist’ lifestyle, then by all means do what you love.  I know some people that are artists, but they have mommy and daddy paying for their expensive camera equipment, paint, etc. and the rent for their loft spaces. If we all had it like that, we would excel in doing what we love because we wouldn’t have to worry about money. But unfortunately that is not the world we live in. At least not for me and the majority of us.

If you are currently a college student and you are not sure what to major in, do a Google search and find out what the best paying jobs are. Then major in something that is related to that field.  I know most of these fields are related to Math and Science and for those of you who hate Math and Science, I can totally relate with you. I also hate these subjects but I found a way to work within the Information Technology field that provides a good living.  If I can do it, then so can you.

In my professional experience, most people get tired of whatever they do on a daily basis no matter how much they love it. So why not do something that pays you well?  It’s better than doing something that you hate that also pays crap.  Or doing something that you love but can’t pay your bills.  Find a happy medium between the two that will lead you to the best paying profession.



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