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Doing what you love vs what makes money?

karlavvvkarlavvv 37 replies9 threads Junior Member
If it were up to me, I'd want to study creative writing in college (not interested in journalism). My parents want me to do business or engineering or something that "can actually have a stable job" associated. I do want to make money but is it worth doing that as my career (something I don't love?). I need some perspective--any advice?
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Replies to: Doing what you love vs what makes money?

  • MidwestDad3MidwestDad3 2172 replies14 threads Senior Member
    Double major.
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  • GMTplus7GMTplus7 14268 replies297 threads Senior Member
    Can you minimally support yourself doing what you love? Or will you be living in your parents' basement until some great-aunt dies and leaves you money?

    If you don't "love" the alternate discipline, then do you hate it?

    What's to stop you from doing creative writing instead of playing video games in your spare time? The guy who The Martian wrote it as a hobby outside of his daytime job in I.T.

    Few people who actually do love their daytime jobs wouldn't quit tomorrow if they won the Powerball jackpot.
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  • NeoDymiumNeoDymium 2301 replies3 threads Senior Member
    Do what you reasonably enjoy that pays well. Very few people have such overwhelming passion for their work that they would love what they do while making a pittance and working under poor conditions. I know many people who "did what they love" and ended up burnt out because life without stability is a huge bummer. I also know very many people who chose a stable route that didn't really directly tie into what they would call a dream job, but they made the best of it and found something reasonably close to what they liked to do that also paid well.

    So find something close to your interest that you can say that you're reasonably fond of, even if it's not what you would call a "passion." I can't really say from your post what that is (you are slightly vague about what you actually DO like as opposed to what you don't), but perhaps you have an idea of that.
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 35421 replies399 threads Senior Member
    edited April 2016
    You'll be surprised how you can enjoy many sorts of jobs, for many different reasons. You may not know yet what's out there.

    There's a difference between truly refining writing strengths and just enjoying your own side projects. Why not test this in college? Take some classes, work on improving, no matter what major.
    edited April 2016
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  • doschicosdoschicos 26849 replies270 threads Senior Member
    I see from your other posts that you are headed to Princeton. Congrats! You are obviously an intelligent, high achieving student. Why rush the decision on a major and spend time worrying about it now? For most majors, you don't need to declare a major until the Spring of your Sophomore year. For engineering, it seems like you need to do so by the end of Freshman year. Either way, that is quite a ways off. Take a variety of course and explore your first year. The great thing about college is being exposed to many areas of study that weren't available in high school. You and your parents don't need to sweat it and plan everything out right now.
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  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus 83929 replies745 threads Senior Member
    calmom wrote:
    There are plenty of steady jobs for people with majors in creative writing. For example, a good starting point is the publishing industry. Public relations, marketing and communications jobs are also areas where someone with strong writing skills could do well. You can pick up many employment related skills outside of college.

    However, someone improving skills at writing may want to take the opportunity offered by being in college to learn about various other subjects (e.g. economics, sociology, political science, history, philosophy/ethics/values, statistics, the various sciences, etc.) in order to know what s/he may have to write about (this can apply to both jobs in the above areas, and as background for creative writing).
    calmom wrote:
    College is not trade school.

    However, many would not spend the money to attend college if it did not improve their chances of finding better jobs than if they did not attend college. I.e. it is treated at least partially as a trade school by students and employers, even if the actual material studied is not directly targeted at the job.
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  • WhataProcessWhataProcess 564 replies16 threads Member
    Many writers (novelists, etc...not clear what type of creative writing you are interested in) will tell aspiring writers NOT to major in creative writing. Writers need life experience in order to write compelling works. Yes, you need to learn the writing skills, but you also need a perspective.
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  • karlavvvkarlavvv 37 replies9 threads Junior Member
    Thanks for all the advice. The issue is I have little idea what direction I want to do in and the last thing I want to do is take longer than four years to meet graduation requirements
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  • Sportsman88Sportsman88 1572 replies13 threads Senior Member
    Have you considered being an English teacher (or other subject)? Summer's to write and teach HS students to write. Pays the bills. I agree with earlier suggestions on advertising, PR, marketing.

    I don't think it's feasible to wait on engineering but there are lots of options beyond STEM that pay the bills. Princeton can help you discover other options. Take advantage of all advising resources available. They also have a certificate in Creative Writing so you can concentrate in something else.

    On our Princeton info tour, the admissions officer shared about a senior who majored in microbiology (or similar, I forget) and earned the certificate in Creative Writing. Her senior thesis was a fiction murder/mystery that combined her majors. Broaden your mind, career options, and provide yourself an academic field that adds depth to your writing.
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  • greenlegobrickgreenlegobrick 85 replies9 threads Junior Member
    Doing what you love and turning that into something that will earn you money :)
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  • LennonLennon 203 replies2 threads Junior Member
    I majored in creative writing, love what I do, and have worked in book publishing for over 20 years now and I do very well for myself. So, doing what you love and making money are not mutually exclusive. That said-Creative Writing majors are not usually that time demanding that you couldn't double major, so if your parents are really pressuring you to look at business or other options as well, there's no reason not to do so. You might also find that you naturally end up with a double major once you establish your interests. Being able to write well and edit are very, very marketable skills in my experience-when I started out in NYC a lot of my colleagues ended up leaving book publishing to work in finance, doing marketing and public relations. You never know where life will take you-good luck!
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  • oldfortoldfort 23512 replies308 threads Senior Member
    I work with many people who are programmers by day and music performer by night/weekend. Some of them are in rock band and some in orchestra. They use their vacation days to practice or tour sometimes. I have found musicians are generally good programmers. Maybe they work same side of their brains.

    I was a major math/econ major, but played an instrument while i high school. My dad told me that I wasn't going to make a living by going into music or art. At the time, I wasn't happy with my father, but in hindsight I think he was right. I think most students who go into art/music are subsidized by their parents one way or another until many years later. My kids also thought about becoming professional dancers. I told them that I wasn't supportive of it, but I did let my younger kid (who is not a STEM student) choose a marketable major and career she wants pursue.
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  • scout59scout59 3724 replies69 threads Senior Member
    You may not know what you love just yet.

    I say that because I double-majored in English and chemistry a long time ago. I actually loved English (and writing) more but I thought chemistry was more practical.

    I still enjoy creative writing - luckily, you can keep on writing and honing your craft even if you're not a writer by profession. As it turned out, though, I really love the practice of chemistry. I'm so glad I stuck with it.

    Keep you mind clear and your options open. You don't have to declare a major or a choose a career yet.
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  • MiamiDAPMiamiDAP 16183 replies1 threads Senior Member
    You can do whatever you wish in college, but make sure to follow your plan to become financially independent on the first day after graduating from college. Making money yourself or marrying somebody or winning the lottery or winning in Las Vegas or whatever, you need to follow your plan that you did not state in your post.
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  • warbrainwarbrain 693 replies23 threads Member
    Fortunately for you, Princeton does not have a business major. Not only that, but Princeton is a school where one could major in English and still realistically claim to want to go into ibanking, for example. So at least when it comes to satisfying your parents, you should be fine, I think.
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  • toowonderfultoowonderful 4077 replies68 threads Senior Member
    Follow your heart and keep an open mind. You are lucky enough to be going to a world class school. Try things out. Find what speaks to you, and the rest will flow from there.
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