Why you should study something you love at university

It’s an age-old debate: study what you love, or study something ‘practical’ to get a job?

Especially if you don’t know what to do when you graduate (which is very common!), choosing a degree can feel paralysing. Yet ‘studying something you are passionate about‘ and ‘getting a job‘ are not at opposite ends of a spectrum. You do not have to pick one and sacrifice the other.

Those in the Practical Camp will argue otherwise. They will say that the cost of a degree justifies why you should spend three years studying Something Practical, because that’s what university is for, right? Get a degree, get a job.

Well, not quite. There are three key things missing from this equation. Here’s why you should study something that you’re passionate about.


  1. You’re investing your time.

Before we even consider why the tired passion vs. practicality argument is not relevant to your job prospects, remember this: you will be the one at university for three years.

For those three years, you will be writing essays, reading more articles and books than you can count, attending lectures and seminars, working on group projects…

A degree calls for continuous application. You will have to engage with your subject to excel, and motivation is much easier to come by when you’re committing to something you find meaningful.

It is tempting to heed your teachers or parents who are skeptical about the merits of a Degree in X because people with X degrees only ever did Y. I remember all too well how my dad asked me just what I would do with an English Literature degree (lots of things actually – go into publishing? Editing? Journalism?). I also remember classmates who assumed I would end up as a teacher when I chose to do German & History instead.

I am here to tell you that I am not going to be a teacher- because your degree will not limit you as much as you think.


  1. Employers look for skills and experience, not subjects.

What you studied is far less important to an employer than the transferable skills you’ve gained from your degree and, above all, your work experience. There are exceptions, such as medicine, dentistry, and law, or if you’re planning on undertaking a highly technical role after graduation.

Otherwise, so long as you can make your case for why you’d be a good fit for a role, your degree won’t hold you back. I know a graduate who studied Classics and joined the Civil Service, for example. Or if you study a humanities degree but build up your CV with finance internships, short courses, or volunteering, you can still pursue a career in finance. While some graduate schemes and internships will prefer a finance degree, your experience will prove what job postings call ‘demonstrable interest’. This applies to other sectors, too: law, marketing, charity work, business…

So don’t let yourself get pigeonholed into thinking that only A can take you to B! So long as you spend some time getting relevant experience, which King’s Careers can help with, you’ll be all set.

Still worried? Don’t be. Check out the employability section of the department you’re interested in. I’m sure you’ll be surprised to see where graduates end up!


  1. Talent and your passion often go hand in hand.

People don’t usually study subjects they’re bad at.

Studying a degree means putting your talents and skills to work. So why not reframe “studying something I love” as “studying something I’m good at”? No one wants to slog through a course that they struggle with (and let’s not forget that financial investment argument: £9,000 a year for a degree you loathe? I don’t know about you, but I’m out).

Excelling at a subject and finding it fulfilling go hand in hand – they did in my case. I love history and languages, and I’m good at both. Just like if you want to study Geography because you love it, I’m willing to bet that you’re good at it, too.

Your degree is not an obstacle; it’s a stepping stone. Study something you love and see where it will take you.


Georgia Braddyll-Brown is a final year History & German BA student at King’s College London.

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