Should Students be Encouraged to Pursue Subjects That Intetest Them
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Should college students be encouraged to take classes that truly interest them or select courses that seem most likely to enhance their competitiveness in the job market? From my point of view, in the ideal case pursuing interests should take precedence over practical concerns. Students with financial difficulties, however, may find it more desirable to take courses that will lead to decent jobs. It is also worth pointing out that students can take online courses while also taking classes specifically to improve their employment prospects.
Interest is the most powerful motivator in students’ academic endeavor so pursuing subjects that interest them may lead to greater academic achievements. When facing challenges in classes, students must have a firm belief to carry on or they might simply quit. Whereas the prospect of a well-paid job may seem like a strong motive, it is far less effective than personal interest. This is because if students strive for decent careers, it takes a long time for their efforts to pay off. In consequence, they begin to lose the confidence and motivation for carrying on whereas personal interest could sustain their motivation for learning. Therefore, to make greater intellectual achievements, students should be encouraged to take classes they grow greatly interested in.
However, students experiencing financial difficulties may depend on a promising career to improve their or their family’s economic situations. They may prefer to place more emphasis on courses that can earn them a better job than on what they are interested in. In such case, the argument that a future career is not the strong motivation does not hold true because the desire to change one’s fate can be extremely powerful.
In addition, it is also necessary to address the underlying assumption in the debate that courses which interest students are totally different from those conducing to finding jobs. Actually, even those classes that seem to have few practical connections to the real world can sometimes teach students vital skills needed to secure decent jobs and succeed in their careers. For example, advanced theoretical physics involving abstruse ideas and mathematics may seem useless in the job market at first glance, but those courses teach students how to think critically, simplify complex systems in a model and acquire solid mathematical skills essential in the financial world. Wall Street firms are actively seeking job candidates with solid background in math, physics and computer sciences, which is a compelling evidence that courses of interest can also lead to jobs.
To summarize, it is beneficial for students to pursue subjects that interest them but students should take their financial situation into considerations when selecting jobs. We have to admit the coexistence of students’ interests and job availability in some circumstances: courses can be both interesting and beneficial in the job market (do not constitute an irreconcilable dichotomy).