Flexibility needed when pursuing success

LinkedIn recently published findings from weforum.org about college majors which produce the best entry-level and median salaries. They were ranked from 1 (being the best) to 50 (being the worst). The STEM and business fields dominated the top spots. It gave me some good insight and sparked some introspection. I reflected on my own studies. I majored in Biology for my Associates and Psychology for my Bachelors. I now work as a staff writer for a newspaper, do photography (and obviously blog). My path has looked like more of a distorted sin curve than a linear one. My experience is not unique. Perhaps even many of you are currently working in fields that you did not major in during college.

The act of the matter is, that is not uncommon at all. Success takes many twists and turns. Often, you are going to do things you never even thought of doing or knew you could. You will take on roles you did not expect. You will grow more than you thought possible. I say all of this to provide some practical wisdom and encouragement to those of you who picked to major in a field where earnings are forecasted to be low or are working in a field you did not expect to.

Success happens through growth. Growth requires change and oftentimes some discomfort. It is discomforting to take on a job you do not think you are equipped to do. It is even more discomforting to come to the realization that your college degree alone does not give you the ticket to access success. That goal comes with constant learning and improving. Your college degree gives you the necessary foundation to be able to do that learning and growing (or should have, but that’s a different topic). So, if you majored in one of the humanities and are concerned you will not earn or do as well as your STEM peers, relax.

Firstly, it is unhealthy to compare yourself to others. Each individual as a unique set of abilities and will be better equipped for certain majors and jobs than others. Secondly, your major DOES NOT solely determine your future. Using myself as an example, I mentioned my educational background is in biology and psychology. I work in the media industry now. I was not a communications major. I found after graduating that I had very limited access to jobs within mental health. However, my background gave me a multitude of research, data analysis and writing skills that transferred into a host of career roles I did not even consider until after a long, discouraging job hunt.

Many majors, including English, history and similar degrees give students a strong skills in research and communication that are viable in many career choices including marketing, advertising and business management. Do not get locked into the mindset that there is no hope for a bright future because your earning potential looks bleak. Pursue other interests and career options. You may be surprised at what you find- I know I pleasantly was.

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