Dear confused teenagers,
I don’t know I’ve mentioned this before, but in college I’m planning on majoring in Philosophy. Well, the college I’m planning to go to combines Politics, Philosophy, and Economics into one super awesome major, but I’m mostly doing it for the philosophy.
I know it’s not very practical to major in philosophy. It’s probably the least profitable major you can pick, right under political science, theater, art, and english. You can, of course, still make a living and learn a lot from these majors, but it’s kinda difficult to get a job in writing, painting, or philosophising. You may be wondering then, why I would choose to major in something that seemingly gets me nothing in life.
A couple weeks ago I had a really deep talk with one of my graduated friends. He asked me what I wanted to do in my life, what career I wanted to pursue. I had an idea of what I wanted to be, but I’m definitely far from having it all figured out. He then showed me this podcast he listened to by this cool philosophy professor at Harvard or something, and in it the professor talked about how he would mentor his student that came to him asking for advice about what they should do with their lives. The professor would ask the students, “If money were not a factor, what would you want to do with your life?” It usually took a little bit of digging, but he eventually got to the real answer the student wanted to give — not the one that made sense or the one that their parents or society wanted for them, but the career that the students truly desired.
After the students told the professor what their dream career would be if money were not an option, the professor would tell them to do it. He reasoned that if you pursue a career you hate just to make money that you will be unhappy. Money can buy you nice things and you can live in a nice house and drive a nice car, but if money simply prolongs a life of misery then what’s the point? He said that if you truly love what you do you will find happiness, and that you can only master your craft if you love what you do, and if you’ve mastered what you do then you will be able to make a living out of it. Even if money didn’t come, he said that a short life filled with happiness is better than a long one filled with dread.
Super deep, huh? I thought so too, and it led me to question what I really want out of my life. The truth is, I don’t know.
I don’t know what my dream career is, but I do know that I love philosophy and politics and economics. I love learning about the world and how it works. I love learning about human nature and the nature of the economy and the purpose of government. I love questioning that which makes us who we are, and wondering what the meaning of life and the universe is. I love thinking. I’m majoring in philosophy because philosophy makes me happy, and that’s enough for me.