In Defence of an Education: Learning for Interest

In my first year, I quickly discovered that as a university student, everyone I knew would ask the same question: What are you studying?

My answer is, “I’m an English major double minoring in professional writing and sociology.” I smile. I am proud.

In return I’ve received many different responses. Some look at me with genuine interest. Others look a bit confused. A few even look at me with outright pity.

Then begins the questioning: “Oh, so you want to be a teacher?” or, “Wow, so you’re going to be a journalist?” or even, “What the heck are you planning to do with that degree?”hagrid-shouldnt-have-said-that

I try to receive their reactions with patience and grace. I calmly explain the real reasons for why I study what I do. But really, all I want to do is walk away.

I understand that most young adults complete postsecondary education in hopes of achieving a good job. Of course, that’s one of my hopes as well. But I’ve talked to people who are studying something only to get a high-paying job and not because they love what they do, and it sickens me.

Call me crazy, but I’d choose doing something I love that pays less over doing something I hate that pays more.

Money is great—we need money to live. But how sad is it to chase the hope of getting a job you don’t really want instead of chasing your dream?

Our minds are told to follow a set plan—graduate from high school, get a degree in postsecondary, and find a job. But then what? Is that all there is?

tumblr_inline_mp04xoNJ8t1qz4rgpWhy do I study English, professional writing, and sociology? That’s the burning question, and my answer has almost nothing to do with finding a good, traditional job.

I study English because I love reading books and falling deep into a life that isn’t my own. I study professional writing because I love writing stories and the satisfaction of stringing words together in just the right way. I study sociology because I love learning about society and the nuances and patterns of the world around me.

I’m passionate about what I study. I love what I learn. I have goals and dreams of living a fulfilling life, and if I make good money along the way, that’s great too—as long as I’m doing what I love.

So, does that answer your question?