Your Post-Secondary Goals may change,...

Your Post-Secondary Goals may change, and that is okay.

by Keaton Peterson
Jobs People Do | JobsPeopleDo.com

I wanted to be an accountant.I figured I’d complete my mandatory year of prerequisite arts at the University of Alberta, transfer to the Faculty of Business, and major in accounting. I’m now a writer. So what happened?

During my first semester, I found myself enthralled with my writing-focused English courses instead of the Business calculus, statistics, and economics prerequisites. I spent hours perfecting my essays, and my professors encouraged me to pursue the arts. I always enjoyed writing; however I never considered it as something that I could monetize. I went on to work at my University’s writing center, instruct introductory English courses, and get a job writing marketing content for local businesses.

As a disclaimer, there is nothing wrong with sticking to your original plan; dedication is a wonderful trait to possess. If you’re sure of what you want and how to get it, then you should be proud. However, if while studying you stumble upon something better suited to your aptitude and passions, shouldn’t you reaccess your original goal and make sure you will still feel fulfilled when you, after the hard work, reach it?

I frequently encounter people who, while in University, were exposed to a career path that they regret not following. Among them are engineers who wanted to be teachers, scientists who wanted to go into marketing, pharmacists who wanted to be nurses, the list goes on.

Their reasons for not pursuing these alternate goals are varied, but they often focus around “even though I would have rather done y, I already put so much effort into x” – this is called the sunk cost fallacy and sometimes makes us act silly.

I fell victim just last week: I was watching a series on Netflix and halfway through determined that I didn’t like it. Instead of choosing something else, I told myself “I’ve already watched half of this, so I might as well finish.” I knew that I had already wasted hours of my life on this series, yet I used that poor investment as a reason to continue watching. I’m sure if you reflect on some of your decisions, you can catch yourself doing this, too!

Sticking to your goals is paramount to success, but make sure your goals are evolving with you. If you find yourself bored or depressed from dedicating your time to studying something you no longer enjoy, you may benefit from reconsidering your options. Of course, following your heart may not always be viable and there are reasons to stick with an imperfect situation – such as financial limitations. However, if you see a viable, more fulfilling, alternate plan, remember that the time, money, and other resources you invested into your original goal are in themselves not a logical reason to continue something you no longer want. It’d be a shame to work hard at studying a discipline you are no longer passionate about just to get a job dealing with more of the same!

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