Choosing Your Destiny: Deciding on a course

Everyone remembers his or her last year in high school. Papers with different school logos were probably stacked on your table, empty forms waiting to be filled out. Every teacher and elder relative had probably already given you more than an earful of advice, whether solicited or not. They told you which school was the best (coincidentally, the alma mater of your parents), and advised on which specific degrees were high in demand. Long story short, by the time you saw the huge list of courses from which to choose from, you were a mess.

Do you choose practically? Or do you follow your gut? You probably asked yourself this a thousand times over back then. Try looking back, or think real hard about, the reason you’re in your course right now, and you just might relate to some of the stories below—one of them just might apply to you.


All in the family

For many of us, family always comes first. Your parents might have had the biggest impact on your choice, either dictating to you what they wanted you to take up, or discussing with you which degrees would lead to a bright future. Either way, you probably went to them first. Maybe it’s the idea of a role model—growing up with parents and elder siblings, and seeing what they do, can influence us into following in their footsteps.

Such is the case for people like Martina (II, AB-OSDM), who was formerly an AB Psychology major. “I chose AB-PSYC because that was the course of my dad,” she smiles. “Idol ko siya.” A lot of us have outgrown our teenage feelings of angst and rebellion, and it is not uncommon to look to your parents as paragons. More than a few of us consider them as the hallmark of adult success and want to be like or even surpass them when our time in the sun comes. Martina took up Psychology to see and experience the world as her role model and father does.

Kevin (II, BS-PSYC), on the other hand, grew up with a family of doctors. “My dad is a doctor, my mom and sister are nurses. I want to go to med school as well.” He mentions, however, that his family’s profession was not the only factor that influenced his choice—he says he truly enjoys the course and finds it fascinating.

For others, though, it’s an act of giving back. “Parang gusto ko ibalik sa kanila yung binigay nila sa akin all these years, ever since bata pa ako.” says Anne* (II, AB-ISE). “Gusto ko, [yung] passion ko, after na lang.” She shares that her parents ought to have the say, as they’re the ones who pay for her education and have taken care of her all these years. The
term, ‘utang ng loob’ springs to mind—Anne feels like she owes something to her parents and wants to do her best to make them proud in return for all the years of love
and care.

At the end of the day, you will be the one to prosper or suffer from this major life choice, but your family certainly has a voice in this decision, and you should also note that they want what’s best for you. You don’t have to agree with them or do what they say, but you should definitely take their sage wisdom into account.

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Shifting gears

We all have turning points, and they can happen any time. “When I had my NTROPSY, that’s when I realized na parang hindi para sa akin,” shares Martina. “I didn’t see myself memorizing a lot of concepts.” Martina, despite wanting to follow in her father’s footsteps, wasn’t ready to settle for a course she didn’t feel right about.

It was a difficult decision for Anne as well. Formerly a LIA-COM student, she decided to drop the Legal Management portion of her course, sharing, “I don’t see myself as a business major… Besides, plan ko naman talaga mag-Law school after, pero hindi Legal Management.” However, it was a decision her parents didn’t entirely agree with. “Ayaw ng dad ko. Tingin nila mas bagay [ako] sa Business. Gusto sana nila LIA-COM tapos Law… [pero] gusto ko na mag-Law school agad.”

The choice has already been made, and Anne is now focusing solely on her ISE degree. Does she regret it? She isn’t entirely sure what the answer to that question is quite yet. “Unsure, oo na hindi,” she explains. “Sometimes nahihinayang ako na I dropped LGL, sometimes hindi.”

There’s no shame in being unsure or unhappy in your selected course, and by no means should you feel committed to your initial opinion of it. Like Martina and Anne, sometimes it’s better to stand back, take a really good look at the big picture, and decide whether or not this is the path you’re willing to place your bet on.


Passion is the currency

Passion can be the most important thing for some students, and it can also take a backseat for others. Some may consider it frivolous to chase your passion when deciding on your future, but it can also be said that it is better to follow your dream than to be committed to something you’re uninterested in, trudging along until beyond the point of no return.

“Passion ko talaga is Literature and Philosophy, pero ayaw ng parents ko yun,” Martina shares. She mentions that the Behavioral Sciences is a field she is also interested in, but considers herself merely ‘content’ with where she is now. She is confident, however, that she will have time to pursue her other interests in the future. “I plan to get a Master’s degree, but I just see myself doing this for 10 years. I can still work on my passion later on, but for now, this would have to do.”

On the other hand, there are those for whom their passion is still a mystery, like Abby (I, CAM-MGT), who is thinking about dropping her CLA course and shifting to Marketing. She is still unsure whether that is what she wants, sharing, “I don’t know my passion yet, but I think I’ll find it in Marketing once I shift.”

No matter what pushed you to be where you are right now, it’s always important to take into account what you love and what makes you happy as well. Society pressures you to make decisions and stick to it, but that’s not always the case. Just remember, that it’s not just you, and it’s perfectly normal—the indecisiveness is one of those things that everyone goes through at some point. Think of it as a trial by fire. You’re going to get through this so you might as well go through it without regrets.

* Names with asterisks (*) are pseudonyms.

Audrey Giongco

By Audrey Giongco

Jaime Papa

By Jaime Papa

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