Since May is upon us, and so is graduation – high school and college – I figured I would kick off a series of posts in regards to college, money, and student loans. This first story might not be as beneficial to those of you who have already completed college, but it might help someone you know that is starting college soon. If so, feel free to share it with him/her. First up is my story about how I chose my college major.
Growing up one of my aunts was a teacher and for as long as I can remember, I wanted to be a teacher too. I loved to “play” school, and whenever someone asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I would happily reply, “A teacher.” When we would have career day in elementary I always dressed up as… You guessed it – a teacher. That was until I was in fourth grade. I was in a fourth/sixth split; a classroom where there were 10 fourth graders and the rest of the class was sixth graders. I loved that I was able to meet some new, older kids and learn some advanced things for my age. I also learned something else – I did not want to be a teacher anymore!
At the tender age of 10, I quickly realized just how bad some kids are and how much teachers have to put up with. I was more than sure after I finished fourth grade I did not want to be a teacher. However, I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up. I actually never gave it much thought after that neither.
When I was in 11th grade I knew it was time to decide what I wanted to pursue in college. After not so much research at all, I decided I wanted to be a surgical tech. That idea quickly went out of the window when I met with my high school counselor. He firmly told me that I should not be going to school to be a surgical tech. Since my grades and SAT scores were good, he felt that I needed to go to a four-year college and get a Bachelor’s degree. He said once I decided on my major then I needed to come back and discuss it with him.
As a 17-year-old, I definitely wasn’t trying to hear what he had to say in regards to my college major. Now, when I think about that conversation we had 10++ years ago, I’m so happy that I was smart enough to listen to him (thank you, Mr. Johnson!)
So what college major did I choose?
I decided I wanted to be a nurse. I definitely didn’t come to that decision overnight, and I actually did lots of research.
One of my go-to websites, when I was doing my research, was www.salary.com. I know that might sound crazy, but just follow me. The reason I liked this website so much is because not only did it give the salary range for a particular job, but it also gave the job description as well as the different settings you would possibly be able to work in. Even back then I was trying to be realistic in my search of a career path and how much I would possibly be making.
It might sound cliché, but I did choose nursing because I genuinely wanted to help people. However, it was also nice to know that if I was going to college and taking out student loans, then I would be able to afford to take care of myself and pay back my loans as well. All of these were my motivating factors on why and how I chose my college major.
Omar’s thoughts: The purpose of higher education is to gain skills that allow you to support yourself financially. Understand that going to school is a transaction. Just like every other transaction you better make sure you are getting value at a reasonable price.
What were your motivating factors for the college major you chose out of high school? Do you feel like you made the right decisions back then?
Don’t forget to check back next week for part 2, Why I Didn’t Mind Paying Back My Student Loans.