For the past few centuries, formal education has become an almost inevitable part of our lives. Of course, not everyone gets to have the privilege of attending school, but the significance of having a formal education in today's world is undeniable. As this need for schooling keeps growing, one may wonder, what exactly is it that people feel that they can get from attending school? Well, some people study because it is an obligation or a mere way of life imposed on them, others do it to get a means of earning a living, and others attend it for the sake of gaining literacy and knowledge. This list is not exhaustive, of course… and this is because the benefits of having a formal education are endless. For the most part, however, people strive to get education so that they can have jobs. But the reasons for getting a job vary from one person to another. Given that most students start schooling at a very young age, parents usually take it upon themselves to guide their children into areas of study that they (parents) deem most suitable for their children. And with this, comes the question: what criteria do parents use in advising their children?

Salary

This is the primary reason as to why parents would encourage their children to aim for certain jobs over others. And this is especially true for low income families because once their children can earn enough money, they could potentially pull out the rest of the family from poverty, debt, and other factors holding them back. Unsurprisingly then, medicine is a very popular field, because professions in this field can offer well above $200,000 per year. From this article by indeed.com for example, all the top 10 highest paying jobs are those in the medical field, and next in that list are software and computing jobs, which further explain why computer science degrees are very popular in college as well.

Prestige

In relation to earning a lot of money, prestige plays a huge role in determining what subject areas parents drive their children towards. This factor is non-discriminatory in the sense that almost every parent wants to be proud of their children. Therefore prestige plays a huge role in both immigrant and local families, high-income and low-income families, and all other distinctions that we have managed to come up with as a society. And over time, some jobs have managed to gather some popularity for themselves more than others e.g. jobs within the Law industry such as judges and attorneys are considered highly prestigious. According to psychologytoday.com, other prestigious jobs include engineering, accountancy, medical professions, and consultancy. Prestige plays a slightly grander role in hot cultures, because in these, people greatly care about what society thinks of them and their families' achievements. However, the influence is still there even in cold cultures.

Networking

As unusual as it may seem, some parents encourage their children to get into certain professions for the sake of building connections with certain targeted people or firms. This is rare, but it happens a lot for higher income families. They decide that in order to maintain, say, family businesses, they would have to make sure that their children stay within a certain network of people, so they encourage them to stay within the same realm of professions. In such cases, professions within finance, economics, and business are favored over other options.

These factors are all good and reasonable to some extent, but the real question here is why should parents be the ones to make these decisions? Well, as briefly noted in the introduction of this article, most parents take this responsibility into their own hands, because students are less experienced with the workings of the world. This then means that they (parents) feel that they have a better chance at making an informed decision than their children. However, considering that it is the students themselves that will have to go through the schooling and eventually, working in the job, shouldn’t they have a say in what they get to do? Of course they should! Students can consider all the factors that parents do, but further… they can consider passion.

Passion helps students enjoy school

It is no surprise that schooling takes a huge portion of students’ lives. And given this, shouldn’t they at least be spending all this time studying what they truly enjoy?

Following their passion, and thus doing the subjects and extracurricular activities that they want will not only help students enjoy what they are doing, but will also help them stay motivated when things get hard (... and they will).

This will make them at least want to wake up in the morning and get ready for school instead of dreading every single alarm clock for them to get up and go to school.  

Passion promotes creativity

Furthermore, when one is passionate about their classes, or job, they are more likely to become creative. According to this article by psychologytoday.com , passion is literally the fuel that runs the car of creativity. The article reads,

“Individuals passionate for their work—whether they are scientists, poets, entrepreneurs, operations managers or something else—are able to use the energy afforded by their passion as a motivator of their work. It is not the case that they will be always happy or satisfied, but their desire and commitment will enable them to have a long-term view of work that ultimately makes it possible to work through the stress and frustration and keep the long-term goals in mind.”

Passion increases productivity

Creativity is not the only advantage of following one’s passion. Once someone is able to stay motivated, they are more likely to go above and beyond to produce the highest quality of work possible. This further means that they are able to excel in the field that they are serving in. And isn't this what we all want? Geckoandfly also agree by posting:

"The only way to do great work is to love what you do."
"Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work."
"Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life."

Passion encourages people to make a difference

Most importantly, people will be able to make a real difference in the field of their choice. A farmer who is truly passionate about their job is more likely to make a difference than an engineer who absolutely despises what they do. All this is despite the fact that farming is given less prestige as a job in comparison with engineering.

So how can parents and guardians support students in their educational journey?

  1. By encouraging students to try different things. If the educational institution that they attend offers multiple subject areas and extracurriculars, encouraging students to venture and try anything they deem interesting will be very helpful.
  2. By allowing them to fail and learn from their mistakes. Naturally, when they go out and try many different activities, they are likely to fail at something in the process. Choosing not to discourage them and rather reminding them that failure is a normal part of life is really important.
  3. By sharing resources that can help them make better choices. There are plenty of firms that live to serve students and to help guide them. If parents, guardians, and teachers share these with them, students will be able to perform much more well-informed decisions.

Edvora is a great resource for both caretakers and students when it comes to deciding what to do while in school and beyond that. We, at Edvora, are dedicated to helping students look at school as a place of opportunities to explore what their life's work should be. We understand the immense value that formal education has and will continue to have, therefore we want to lend a helping hand in providing students with as many resources as possible to help make this journey better for them. Even more, our platform has a club feature that can help students meet other like-minded individuals who share similar passions and interests. We promote this because we believe that having strong and healthy connections is key to walking this journey of life, and especially as students strive to live a meaningful and purpose-filled life. So, write to us at [email protected] to let us know what means we can use to support you more.