Students aim for balance between financial stability, fulfillment when preparing for career

As many students decide what major to pursue during their college years, they must decide what should be their top priority: a financially stable career, or a career motivated by their love for the subject.

“I would rather come home to a microwave dinner than a lobster, if I am returning after spending a day doing work that I love,” said Chase Dimock, graduate student in LAS who teaches queer literature at the University, as he sat in a crammed office shared by few other TAs. “Yeah, we all hang out here,” he said.

Amelia Sacco, junior in Media, said she is passionate about her media and cinema studies major, yet understands that financial security is not guaranteed right out of college.

“It’s a hard industry to break into,” she said. “Now that I’m a junior and I have an apartment, I realize that there are going to be bills to pay.”

Sacco said she is willing to do other jobs to support her dream of producing her own movies.

“I’ve always known what I’ve wanted to do,” she said. “I can’t imagine myself doing anything else.”

Akshita Siddula, junior in LAS, is double-majoring in comparative world literature and public health. She plans to work for nonprofit health organizations later in her life.

“I know I will not be making a lot of money in my life, but I will be doing something I love,” Siddula said.

Although her parents would be happier if her career plan promised more financial stability, she said she plans to keep progressing in the same direction.

Both Siddula and Dimock said they’ve experienced times when people from the seemingly more practical majors have made them feel that their majors held more importance.

Because companies today are looking for potential employees who have degrees in specific concentrations, it is becoming a harder task to successfully have a career in the field of liberal arts and sciences, Dimock said.

The lack of societal demand for such jobs is decreasing the amount of funding allotted to LAS.

The broader development of critical thinking, writing and analyzing used to be given more importance back in the day, but engineers and business majors still benefit from a background in LAS, Dimock said.

While he enjoys teaching a liberal arts and sciences class, he respects students who enter other colleges.

“You can’t demonize (students) for wanting a career that gives them the support they need to do what they love,” Dimock said.

It works out well for Nikhil Kapur, sophomore in Engineering, as his interest in this particular field is genuine. His interests lie in figuring out “how things work” and being a problem solver.

“It just so happens that I really enjoy the work that is involved with Engineering, so the balance was quite easy for me,” Kapur said, referring to the love for his major and the financial comfort that it holds.

Jasmine Nadhimi, junior in ACES with a concentration in human genetics and animal science, also has entered a field that often comes with financial security. She went to community college for two years and pursued a degree in animal science. At the University, she chose genetics because it is a broader field than animal sciences and is a practical major. She said she would like to eventually pursue the physician’s assistance program at the University.

Nadhimi entered the field because she wants to help people, but she also believed it was a realistic path because it promises a financially stable life.

She encourages people to follow a career path that they are passionate about, but recommends for people to put their health before their career.

“Since I am coming from a health profession, I would say your health (is important),” Nadhimi said. “If it risks your living stability, I would say don’t go for it. But if it’s doable, like you can manage somehow a nice life with it, then go for it.”

While all colleges come with their share of financial pros and cons, most share the common theme of being full of students who are passionate about what they’re learning. The hard work that goes with any major will result in benefits, whether extrinsic or intrinsic.