A good twist on telling students to "follow their passions"

<p>I have read here and in other places that students should "follow their passions" when choosing a major and a career. This can often lead to impractical results, as when the student has a passion for being a rock star or NFL player but has nowhere near the talent.</p>

<p>I heard a guy speak over the weekend on a totally different topic but I thought of teens and their choice of majors immediately. He spoke of finding *the place where your passions intersect with your gifts. *"Gifts" seems to be missing in the career/major evaluation and analysis process for many, but I think adding in that component could be valuable.</p>

<p>So the aspiring opera singer whose voice doesn't quite cooperate could look toward arts management, composing, music journalism, etc. The sports nut could look toward sports team or venue management, physical therapy, etc.</p>

<p>I know that many people end up in those types of careers as adults. But I think it would be a good way to help our kids think about things as HS and college students.</p>

<p>I like that, missy.</p>

<p>Why thank you, YDS. I just like the idea of an intentional analysis…so it goes from “I guess I’ll have to be a HS coach because I couldn’t even make it on a DI team in college” to “I am good at explaining things and have a passion for sports, so I’ll be a HS coach.”</p>

<p>I would suggest that this advice would improve by adding a third component and using the three-legged stool analogy: passion, gifts and practicality.</p>

<p>I have seen many teenage boys whose video game skills were quite impressive and they had the passion to play for weeks on end. However, there is not much of a market for video game players.</p>

<p>Similarly, my daughter has friends who can text faster than I can speak and have passion reflected in their thousands of texts every month. But I don’t see a future for them in professional texting.</p>


<p>This reminds me of the ‘three key questions’ video produced by Boston College with Fr. Himes.</p>

<p>Three key questions to help people make a decision on where their life is going:

  1. Is this a source of joy?
  2. Is this something that taps into your talents and gifts—engages all of your abilities—and uses them in the fullest way possible?
  3. Is this role a genuine service to the people around you, to society at large.</p>

<p>Practicality - or what jobs actually exisit out there - is another circle to add to the venn diagram. If video game design is not in the cards, how about managing a Game Stop, or working for one of the companies that markets the games or puts on video game conventions?</p>

<p>I am aware that there are the Mark Zuckerbergs out there who invent their job, but face it, most of our wonderful, smart, talented kids won’t do that.</p>



<p>I remember hearing a humor piece on NPR many years ago on the topic of what if people were paid according to their worth to society. According to the comedian who did the piece, garbage collectors would receive the most pay, and NBA players the least.</p>

<p>Well, yes and no. As one example, passion might lead a very impractical “marine bio” major which could “lead” with subtle info from parents to a very practical pursuit of Med. School. However, this process needs to be very long, very subtle and very positive, otherwise parents’ input will meet a hige resistance. Oh, well, everybody can speak from their personal experience and nothing else. This is a story of how my D. ended up going to Med. School and simply does not see herself in any other career any more.<br>
Another one would be my S’s story minus input from parents. The guy has been a good artists as long as he could remember himself with plenty of private one on one lessons and other art related skills that he was seeking on his own outside of academics. He researched and figured out the obvious fact that art in most cases (outside of Rubens / Rembrant caliber) would not provide financial support this days. He ended up pusuing Graphic Design, proffession that is not influenced much with up and downs of the economy.<br>
So, here how passions lead my kids in a right direction. I both cases, passion needed additional input either from parent or independant research. Passion was adjusted to reality with positive results.<br>
Both kids started thinking about in in middle school though, ehty had plenty of time.
No matter what though, if pay is not determined on a job market, the shortages will definitely result. If many MD’s will leave because of low reimbursement for Medicare patients (as one example), this would be a perfect proof of it.</p>

<p>Yes and no.</p>

<p>Some people might find it painful if the intersection of their passions and their gifts leads them to a career in which they must constantly face their shattered dreams.</p>

<p>If you wanted to be an artist but your talent was insufficient, could you stand managing an art gallery and being surrounded by the works of others who have more talent than you? If you wanted to be a physician but couldn’t get into medical school, would you feel comfortable working in some other capacity in a medical setting and having to interact with physicians and see them at work?</p>

<p>Some people would not find these situations uncomfortable. Others would. Those who would might be better off seeking an entirely different career.</p>

<p>I went to college with quite a few pre-medical or pre-veterinary students who did not get admitted to medical or veterinary school. Most ended up in careers that had nothing to do with human or animal health care. The idea of taking a job related to medicine or veterinary medicine, while having given up all hope of being a physician or veterinarian, was simply too uncomfortable for them.</p>

<p>“and NBA players the least.”</p>

<p>I disagree. Value is subjective. </p>

<p>People value entertainement. People value the arts. </p>

<p>Why do you think that people buy $100 tickets to see an NBA game while they could go watch their local gym pickup game for free?</p>

<p>The moment one agreest that there is no value watching competitive sports, than one has to also agree that there is no value in admiring a nice painting or statue.</p>



<p>It was a comedian making a joke.</p>

<p>Missy–do you want to call some friends of ours and share this with them :D. They have an extremely musically talented son, senior, and they are adamant that he not major in music. As a result, he hasn’t even LOOKED at a college yet. We’ve been trying to get across to the parents, as nicely as possible, that there are other avenues for music majors other than performance, which is all they can see with a music major. He is NOT music teacher material :D. He would, however, make an amazing sales person for some instrument company, etc.</p>

<p>Sometime comedians are not very funny, sometime they believe that to appear empty headed is funny, but then, people laugh at them not at their jokes…which is still paying bills though.</p>

<p>“Missy–do you want to call some friends of ours and share this with them . They have an extremely musically talented son, senior, and they are adamant that he not major in music.”
-OK, it may work and it may not. However, having music minor is fine and will work. So, why not? My D. graduated with Music Minor in addition to her major that allowed her to get accepted to Med. School. Still part of music performances not to the extend of the musician, but they raise funds for Free Clinic, very nobel cause and it let them to have some time off from very very rigorous academics. She has enjoyed both her Music Minor in UG and current involvement using her keyboard skills at med. School. And all along developed a great voice, which she never had before college. Any skill is always a plus, never a minus.</p>

<p>I knew tons of music majors. A few are indeed in orchestras, but plenty are doing other things. One is a doctor, another an Episcopalian priest, another writes novels, another does photography and documentaries, another (to my surprise) is an architect.</p>

<p>This reminded me of a quotation from one of my favorite theological writers, Frederick Buechner, who said: “Vocation is where our greatest passion meets the world’s greatest need.”</p>

<p>Oh, yes, forgot to mention, that although I am not familiar with other fields, one can get accepted to Med. School after Music Major as long as they complete Med. Schools’ pre-reqs, and I know several examples, one was in pretty selective Conservatory of Music and ended up in Med. School. Med. School have no requirement for specific major whatsoever. I am sure that if one completes certain requirements in addition to Music studies, they can go to whatever Grad. School or they might have doulbe major or another example, minor might lead to actual career as I know one computer programmer who graduated with Art Major / CS minor.</p>

<p>My brother graduated with a BFA, studio art, mostly sculpture. He’s been an exec in the fashion industry for many years, came in as a retail salesperson who moved up to visual store design (dressing mannequins, doing windows), to a visual manager and ultimately a VP for a couple of well known high fashion design companies. He does not regret majoring in art. </p>

<p>My S is a music major but with a specialty in audio engineering/music tech. He doesn’t intend to play music for a living but he would like to do live sound, recording, that kind of thing. And if not, it’s still a bachelor’s degree that he can take onto grad school or into the job market.</p>

<p>I am reading a book right now that deals with choosing a major from the standpoint of what you want to do after, backwards but logical. It’s called “College Majors Handbook: The Actual Jobs, Earnings and Trends for Graduates of 50 College Majors”. Interesting so far.</p>

<p>Sounds like a good book OH. I don’t think students get a lot of info on what they can do with a given major, and parents don’t either.</p>

<p>missypie–very true!! Our kids took a class last year that the sole focus was on determining what you want to do for a living and finding college that work for you–not specific schools but size, location, etc. It was THE BEST class they have ever taken. They did several career interest surveys and from that had to research jobs in those areas, salaries, employment rates, etc. It really opened their eyes to various job possibilities out there.</p>