Choosing A College Major

5788270465_9ae755c0b5_zThere is too much talk today about following one’s passion – and an implicit pressure on young students to have a passion. It is bit like the hollywood version of a true soul mate – an expectation set so high, that it can almost never be satisfied.

Most times, you can’t know what you want to be till you have the opportunity to be that. As Sheryl Sandberg said: “The reason I don’t have a <career> plan is because if I have a plan I’m limited to today’s options.

In other words, you will do well to:

  • stay broad in your education and learning opportunities (e.g. study ancient history, not hieroglyphics)
  • pick growing, open, and narrow areas to showcase your achievements (do a project in hieroglyphics, not ancient history)
  • evaluate opportunities as they present themselves
  • take the opportunities/risks that help you open new doors (you may, in the wake of Arab Spring, research how archeological work can best continue during periods of political instability. You may even help archive artifacts related to the Arab Spring. Neither of them is a study of ancient history, or hieroglyphics. Both can open many doors.)

And yes, there is risk inherent in every opportunity – even in the decision not to take the opportunity. Evaluate risk, instead of avoiding it.

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