Degree of Separation?

Christine Burroni

“So, if you’re planning to get a Ph.D. in history, good luck finding a job.”

These not so encouraging words came from my journalism professor during his introduction to my first class of the semester.

With this abrupt and shocking statement, some students might unfortunately be rethinking their career decisions by putting their passions aside in exchange for something that offers a bit more revenue.

This immediately hit a nerve with me – a history minor. Taking two history courses this semester, I obviously have a significant interest in the subject, and have always thought how nice it would be to do research for a museum or possibly use my knowledge of my favorite subject somewhere down the road.

Well, I guess not. Thanks, professor.

Starting my second semester courses, I was excited to finally start taking classes in my major and minor, unlike the insignificant “gen-eds” that overwhelmed my schedule last semester.

It’s ironic because, according to my brutally honest professor, my minor won’t get me too far; but at the same time, these are the courses that mean the most to me. So much for being well-rounded.

I understand that maybe studying generic subjects and then expecting to find a relevant successful job is going to be very difficult in the current economy, but does this mean that we have to sacrifice what we really want to do for practicality?

It seems as if our professors are deterring us from our passions and dreams. What if there was a student in my class very well planning on getting a Ph.D. in history? I’m sure that they would be incredibly discouraged after hearing the opinion of my professor. You should be influenced to do what you want, even if it’s not the best career choice from a financial standpoint.

Life is what you make it, and if you’re content living on a smaller salary then go for it.

I would like to be making a lot of money wherever my career leads me, but I don’t want to (or won’t) settle for being miserable.

When we’re little, our dreams of being singers, painters, dancers, or even astronauts seem to be shot when we get older for the sake of practicality. The whole “reach for the stars” mentality turns into “reach for what employer will pay you the most.”

In the end, I know that we’re all going to need to financially support ourselves, but do it with integrity and happiness. Do it knowing what you’re doing is something you love, and where the money is just a benefit. Shocking, yes, but it’s possible.