Community//

It’s Okay if You Don’t Do What You Went to School For

Is “wasting” 4+ years of your life that bad?


This morning I attended an event called Happy on Mondays, organized by Mimi Boyer. The guest speakers were inspiring women who shared their stories on how they went from hating what they were doing to doing something that makes them happy to wake up on Monday mornings.

I could relate to all their stories but the one that resonated the most with me was from Bianca Sparacino, Creative Director at Thought Catalog. For one, it was great meeting another writer who also writes on Thought Catalog, but also because she had a similar trajectory I did.

And if you are reading this, chances are that you too have a similar story or are having serious thoughts about where your life is heading.

I don’t know where you are in your career or in life in general, but let me re-iterate on the headline:

It’s okay if you don’t do what you went to school for.

Life is too short to waste your time doing something you don’t like doing. Bianca reached the very end of her degree in neuroscience and dropped out, realizing it’s not what she wanted to do.

Is “wasting” 4+ years of your life that bad?

What if she did it for 30 years but never really enjoyed herself?

What is worst? “Wasting” 4 years or wasting 30 years?

I see it time and again, both ways:

  1. People staying in jobs/fields they’re not passionate about anymore; and
  2. People re-inventing themselves.

Most of the time, people in camp #2 end up happier. It’s a damn hard road — and an even harder decision — but future-you will thank you for it.

I never finished my Software Engineering degree. I didn’t like school. As an entrepreneur, I didn’t feel like I had enough flexibility in the way I wanted to learn. I wasn’t bad. I was actually quite good in University, just not in subjects I didn’t care about and knew I would never use in my life.

Guys, life starts with being happy with your situation. If you’re unhappy, you won’t have the energy to get through the day. If you don’t have energy, you won’t have any motivation. Doing things you like helps you be happy.

I’m not saying quit your day job and rush headless into your ideal situation. It won’t work.

Think things through then follow through. — Eddie Rickenbacker

Not everything you’re going to try is going to work, and that’s okay. What’s important is that you don’t get too comfortable and don’t try new things.

My friend says: “What’s the worst that can happen?”

That’s a very important question. A lot of times we’re scared of doing something for fear of making our situation worse. A lot of times, that’s all it is — fear. A lot of ideas are not as scary as they seem.

I used to be scared shitless of dying. It was probably my number one fear. I mean, there’s still so much left to do in this world and I’m aging faster than I wish I would. But this quote changed my perspective on that:

“It is not death a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.” — Marcus Aurelius

I was scared because “I didn’t do anything”. By that I mean that I was simply doing my 9–5 job and playing video games after work, looking forward to weekends.

What kind of life is that? Is that really what life is all about?

I bet you’re wondering the same too. Or maybe you’re one of the lucky ones who found their true purpose in life.

Nonetheless, the important thing lies in the quote above: “beginning to live”.

What does that mean?

It means something different for everyone.

For me, it meant doing things out of my comfort zone. It meant conquering all my fears. It meant learning as many skills as possible. And ultimately, it meant becoming the best version of myself, and do the same for people around me, whether online and in person.


Conclusion

  • What do want to change?
  • What are you afraid of when thinking about changing your career or lifestyle?
  • What’s the worst the can happen?

Many people have done it and have never looked back. This could be you.

“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” — Mae West

You can do this!

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres. We publish pieces written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Learn more or join us as a community member!
Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.