Aleteia logoAleteia logoAleteia
Monday 27 May |
Aleteia logo
separateurCreated with Sketch.

Advice for a child unsure in their choice of college course



Cerith Gardiner - published on 06/25/23

If you're young adult is at a crossroads in their education, consider these points to share with them.

One of the many benefits in education today is that children have a plethora of subjects to choose from when they get to college. In fact, in recent years there have been courses about Harry Potter and even courses available in Klingon — the fantasy Star Trek language.

However, the myriad of degree choices also comes with a lot of confusion. At 18 years of age your young adult child might be feeling a huge weight on their shoulders in trying to define their whole future career, especially as the process in getting it is very costly.

On top of that, certain societal changes are also influencing their decisions. I’ve witnessed this in my own children, and the hundreds of young adults I teach.

Nowadays kids have to consider that they’ll almost certainly be working way beyond today’s retirement age, so choosing manual work may take its toll. Technological innovation means there’s now much more flexibility in terms of work location; and, of course, Artificial Intelligence is already impacting certain work practices.

These are all considerations most of us didn’t have to think about when we pursued higher education.

For kids in their late teens who also have to contend with the physical and emotional changes of young adulthood, choosing the perfect college course (or “major” as you say in the States) may feel too overwhelming.

A little parental guidance

In this case, how can a parent guide their child through such a process? Well, this is what I’ve been sharing with my own child who’s got to make a decision on his future college course by midnight tonight.

My nearly 18-year-old son thinks he wants to be a pharmacist, but he’s also passionate about linguistics and history. (And secretly I know he’d love to sing for the rest of his life!)

I know people say that if you follow your passions, you’ll never feel like you’re working a day in your life. But that’s a lot easier said than done. In fact, my son is not wrong when he says that job prospects in history and linguistics are declining.

On the other hand, he’s also envisioning a life working in the pharmaceutical industry and the idea doesn’t exactly overjoy him.

Where does he go from here? If your child faces a similar dilemma, what would you suggest?

Life’s unknown journey

Here’s one thing I’d say to any young adult — or anyone who has to make a tricky decision: We should embrace the wonder of life with its almost infinite number of paths we can choose from, on a journey that only finishes the day we die. And no matter which path we take, we must put our best foot forward and see where it leads.

Nothing we do is ever wasted, even when we “fail” at something. As I shared with my son, if he studies pre-med in a bid to become a pharmacist, he’ll acquire incredible skills that he can use in many other walks of life. And likewise, if history wins the day, he’ll acquire knowledge that can be invaluable in understanding the world we live in.

I also pointed out that we don’t need to abandon our passions in life. If he opts to become a pharmacist then he can always pick up a good history book to wind down (okay, realistically, maybe not while he’s studying), or pick up his guitar and belt out a tune.

And to further help his decision-making process, I also shared the importance of job satisfaction, and how it can be found in surprising ways. No matter what course my son takes, or potential career it may lead to, he needs to think about how he can get satisfaction from it, not if he can.

It’s also important to highlight that our careers don’t need to be defined for the rest of our lives. But, most importantly, we need to have faith that God will lead us in the direction we are meant to go. And if we look at the example of the apostles, He doesn’t get it wrong!

Catholic LifestyleEducationTeens
Support Aleteia!

Enjoying your time on Aleteia?

Articles like these are sponsored free for every Catholic through the support of generous readers just like you.

Thanks to their partnership in our mission, we reach more than 20 million unique users per month!

Help us continue to bring the Gospel to people everywhere through uplifting and transformative Catholic news, stories, spirituality, and more.

Support Aleteia with a gift today!

Top 10
See More
Get Aleteia delivered to your inbox. Subscribe here.