Many modern students look at higher education primarily as a means to an end. If you ask any student on a college campus why they're there, chances are they'll tell you it's because they want to improve their qualification for a job, preferably one that includes status and monetary value. Although financial stability and greater opportunities in the job market are certainly concepts that are worth justifying an education, having a sincere thirst for learning will often take students much farther than these basic gains. Keep in mind, however, these passions will be different for everyone, and sometimes they're not always best-suited for a traditional academic environment.
Understanding the Diversity of Academic Passions
The only way to truly understand why personal passion is necessary for academic success is to also understand that college will require a lot of hard work and sacrifice. Without a true desire to learn and follow their passions, students likely won't be motivated to put forth the effort required to succeed. When the general public realizes that passion comes in a different form for everyone, perhaps the idea of applying these passions to an academic setting will be more encouraged.
Not everyone will be set up for success by going the same route in academia. In fact, some experts would argue that spending top dollar for even a community college education isn't a particularly good investment for someone whose passion is to become an automobile mechanic or a flight attendant. The value of the investment of college can only be properly weighed in respect to a student's true passion. For example, a student with a passion for literature may choose to take the more practical route by choosing a business degree program instead because of the fear that a literature focus won't win a job interview.
Discovering Your Passion
Some students claim they "always knew" they wanted to follow such-and-such career path, but for most the answer won't come as a powerful revelation. At the time when most students are expected to start thinking about college, they are only in the latter half of their teen years. This is a pretty young age to be expected to have all of the answers about passions and what would be the most successful route to take in academia.
The concept of discovering your passion sounds complicated, because it is. In fact, your passions are likely to evolve as you grow and learn different things anyway. So, although you may have assumed that your passion was for economics, taking a required English course may cause you to realize that your true passion lies with literature instead of within the science of money.
According to Julie Feinerman of WetFeet, one of the best ways to discover your passion is by trying out internships in college to determine whether or not a real-world application of your passions is what you expected. So if you are looking to obtain a Business degree, but your true passion lies within creative writing and literature, don't be so quick to turn your back on it. Literature helps students to analyse, problem solve and develop the ability to uncover patterns, motifs and the human psyche, which could make you the perfect candidate for becoming a lawyer or business owner.
Learning What You Love
Some experts would argue that learning can't even be properly accomplished without the learner's genuine love for the subject. For example, think about the last thing you learned that stuck with you and determine why you were able to absorb this information in particular. Then think about all of the information you were taught throughout your education and determine which subjects seem to have been more easily retained in your mind. Practising this exercise is an effective way of discovering your passions because true learning--the kind that sticks-- only really occurs when you have a deep personal interest in the subject at hand.
About the author: Derrick Cruise is a professional writer living in the Indianapolis area. He specializes in education, technology, and health articles. Follow him on Twitter @DerrickCruise2