Torn between passion, paycheck

By Laura Van De Pette
March 11, 2005

Shawn Rice

The clock is ticking down on the second semester, the deadline for students to declare their major is looming and students like Carolyn Steck are climbing into the ring again to fight the never-ending battle whether to choose a major for the paycheck or her passion.

Steck, a sophomore accounting major is growing anxious as fall registration approaches. “College is half over for me and it is do or die now. I need to know what I’m doing or at least be sure of my major. Every time I register for more accounting classes I wonder if I can really make a career out of this after I graduate. My dad is an accountant and majoring in accounting has been my plan forever. I know the money will be good after graduation, but right now I’m bored working in a small accounting firm for my internship. It scares me to think that accounting is not for me,” Steck said.

This accounting major is not alone in her confusion; students across the nation and on Cabrini’s campus are pressured every semester to choose between financial stability and their passion for a possibly less lucrative career.

According to a recent CNN report, “Students that are reported to get the most for their money are those with pharmacy and chemical engineering degrees, with average starting salaries of $52,853 and $81,235, respectively.” Unfortunately, the top two majors at Cabrini College are education and English and communication, with average salaries starting at about $30,000 after graduation.

“It’s always good to get lots of input when you’re choosing a major. Parents, friends, professors, they are all good sources. But ultimately, it is the individual who has to be motivated, whether by love or money. Otherwise, it will always feel like the individual is living someone else’s dream,” Dr. Charlie McCormick dean of academic affairs said.

Senior English and communication major Shaun Smith said, “When I changed majors from biology and pre-medicine to English and communication, I was told that there was not much money in the profession I was interested. I did not care about that, I just wanted to do what I loved on a regular basis.”

Business administration professor Ruby Remley said, “I think there is a balance between passion and money driving students to their majors. Most fields regardless of the income require passion. Most people who stay with a field really have a passion for it. You’re going to give up weekends and evenings so it’s really important that you love what you do and not just the paycheck.”

Lisa Defino, a junior elementary education major, said, “I am choosing to teach in a Catholic school regardless of the fact that they do not make as much money as other teachers. I have gone to Catholic school my whole life and my faith in God has always been a big part of my life and a factor in shaping the person I am today. For this reason, I feel that religion is an important subject that I want to be able to teach to children. Money

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Laura Van De Pette

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