How to Avoid Picking the Wrong Field of Study

By Mark Thomson

Choosing your field of study isn’t an easy task. Understandably, it can make some people panic when they finally have to do it. What you choose to study, whether it’s a community college elective or a university major, will likely impact your life and future career in various ways. Some of that panic comes from a fear of choosing the wrong field of study.

Don’t worry about it, though. There are some tips you can use to your advantage to avoid choosing the wrong field of study. The first and most important one is one from Douglas Adams himself: Don’t Panic! The sooner you relax, the sooner you make better, clearer decisions. And now that we’ve got in a good mood, here are some tips to help you choose a field of study.

What Are Your Options?

First, you need to know what the world has to offer. This is a little like doing some reconnaissance before you officially enter a place. Understandably, it will require quite a bit of research.

You’ll be surprised at what’s out there. There are lots of new subjects being taught both online and offline, with different accreditations. From coding to beauty therapy, it may seem like there may be a lot of choices but the options really are limited. Regardless of what you’re interested in, you’ll find something that works for you.

Do you want to explore and understand the world around you? Science might be the right field for you. Do you want to influence the world and its people? Social studies could be your best bet. Are you more interested in what the world was like in the past? Maybe you should study history or archaeology. These are very broad subjects, but they’re a start.

Just be sure to go in depth once you find something that tickles your fancy, so you know exactly what it entails. You might think finance is all about mathematics, for example, only to realize that it actually involves an overwhelming amount of accounting homework.

What Makes You Happy?

Once you know what options are available, you need to narrow them down to what makes you happy. You’ve probably heard it countless times: do what makes you happy. It’s said so much that it starts to lose meaning. The truth is, however, that this is very sound advice. If you’re not happy with your chosen field of study, you’ll never be able to give it the focus and hard work it requires.

What makes you happy can be based on a lot of different factors. It could be what pays more. In that case, you’ll probably want to go for jobs that guarantee higher pay in the future. Note, however, that a future higher pay does not necessarily guarantee your happiness. Money stops making us happier past a certain point and job satisfaction matters more.

You could also decide to base your happiness on your interests. From sewing to racing, we all have different interests and some will be greater than others. It would make sense, then to choose something that interests you. Be careful with this one, however, as interests can and do change throughout the course of our teenage and college years.

Finally, happiness can also be based on our passions. Passions are like interests, only stronger. A passion can be so consuming that you dedicate your entire life to it. If you have something that you would love to change about the world and find yourself thinking about it all the time, then that’s very likely to be a passion. If you study something you’re passionate about, you’re very likely to do very well in it. Make sure it’s not just a fleeting interest, though; the two are easy to confuse.

Whatever you base your happiness on, pick something from your pool of options that makes you happy. That will most likely be something you’ll enjoy doing in the long term, especially during those trying times when the work load becomes punishing.

Don’t Hesitate to Ask for Advice

Choosing your field of study doesn’t have to be a lonely journey. You can always ask for advice. Educational counselors are a great help in this respect. They can give you in-depth information about the specific career path of the field of study you want to choose. They will also give you better advice about what to choose based on your personal interests and passions.

You can even ask your friends to tell you if your self-proclaimed interests and passions are accurate. You might be surprised at how well your closest friends know you. They might tell you you’re spot on, or they might tell you you’re crazy. Whatever they say, take it into your stride and use it to help you make a more informed and conclusive decision.

Choosing a major may be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be impossible. Just relax, take account of what you have at your disposal, look at the the world around you, and follow your heart – but bring your mind along with you. Once you find something you do want to take, give it all the seriousness it deserves. You’ll soon discover the joy of a rewarding career.

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