Why fear, finances shouldn’t drive your choice of major


Kernel Opinion SIG

Alison Parker. Adam Ward. Jamal Khashoggi. Gerald Fischman. Rob Hiaasen. John McNamara. Wendi Witners.

If you follow the news closely, you’ll know what these people have in common: They were killed for being journalists. They were martyrs and they had something worth dying for. As tragic as each one of these deaths were, they serve each day to remind me of the importance of the free press in our country, and they inspire me to keep going strong in my pursuit of a journalism career.

I worry that the persecution that journalists face now coupled with the average salary expectations scare some people out of this major. 

As college students, we feel the pressure of family and society to pick majors that will provide not only financially stable jobs, but jobs that can provide us with wealth. These jobs are usually found in STEM majors, and a lot of people who choose to take the humanities route are thought to be careless. After all, if you’re anything like me, you’ve heard this a lot: “You can’t make any money writing.” Of course, that is hyperbole.

As a proud journalism major, though, let me remind you that it’s not always about the money. And it’s certainly about a cause much higher than persecution. You should be true to your calling, no matter where it leads you and in spite of any apparent obstacles. Never let financial fear or fear of persecution stop you from making the difference that only you can.

I’ve heard my professors and other professionals say it many times: “Journalism is more a calling than a job.” It’s long hours. It’s 24/7. You get criticized and accused of being an enemy to the people who you try to help. It’s not about the money. Look at the names I shared at the top of this article of the people who were killed for being journalists. Can you get paid enough to sacrifice your life? No. It’s about more than that.

It’s about the warm feeling you get when you know you’ve been a voice for someone who had no platform. The gratification you get when you call out someone in power who is corrupt. The daily act of standing between corruption and the public. 

As the semester draws quickly to a close and some people surely prepare to reconsider the major they originally chose, let me encourage you to not let financial worries or fear of being against-the-grain cloud this decision. Life is about more than money and it’s about more than fear. It’s about making a difference in the world. That is something that applies to any major, and I encourage you to let that ring louder in your mind than familial or societal expectations. 

Find what you’re passionate about and don’t let anything in this world stop you.