CAMPUS: Passion vs Profit

Profit: Students seek to find a balance

In the midst of college applications, the start of a promising future is beginning for many SCHS seniors. As they navigate interests and career paths, students weigh in on the conversation regarding pursuing passion or profit.

Senior Nathan Rodriguez is looking to major in Literature in hopes of becoming an English teacher. While acknowledging that financial income is a large factor to consider, Rodriguez believes his passion is worth chasing.

“For this specific job, I am leaning more towards passion because I already know that as a first-year teacher fresh out of college, I won’t be making much money,” Rodriguez said. “For me, passion is more important than the money you will be earning.”

Despite familial pressures in choosing higher-paying occupations, Rodriguez wants to prioritize his interests of becoming a teacher.

“My parents have always wanted me to either work at Apple or at Google, or do something that would make more money in the future, but that’s never ever been in my interests,” Rodriguez said. “This is what I want to do, and I feel like only I should be able to decide the direction of where I’m going.”

Similarly, senior Ayush Gupta felt influenced by his family to pursue a lucrative career.

“I think a lot of my family went into computer science, and my older brother is going into computer science,” Gupta said. “It’s always been that common element to feel pressured to follow.”

Gupta plans to major in data science or business, aiming to land a job in sports management.

“I’ve always enjoyed math, and it’s been one of my favorite subjects. Data science allows me to explore that interest and still get me into a lucrative field,” Gupta said. “I feel like being a sports manager will allow me to better the culture around a team, and that’s always something I’ve wanted to do.”

The expected salary for a sports manager falls between $30,000 to $90,000. While content with the pay, Gupta intends to take up a part-time career of being a math teacher or tutor.

“I plan on doing other side jobs as well to help get more money,” Gupta said. “I think that I’ll find a way to make it work out and in terms of side passions, I can pursue (something) that can help to equalize everything for me.”

Growing up visiting iconic sites, such as the Stahl House in California and the Chrysler building in New York, senior Waverley Moody felt her curiosity grow in pursuing a career in architecture.

“My aunt is a graphic designer who minored in architectural history, and my dad is an aerospace engineer who attempted to major in architectural design when he was younger,” Moody said. “I’ve always been exposed to it, but never really understood how much I liked it until recently.”

Moody appreciates the mixture of practicality and creativity that would enable her to create a unique style to thrive in the architectural world.

“You only really hear about the famous architects. They are the ones that get the most creative freedom and they get to build the most extravagant buildings,” Moody said. “Ideally, I would have total creative freedom, but to do that, I have to make a name for myself. I think it would lead to joining or trying to get hired by an architectural firm and working my way up from there.”

For Moody, success has felt pressuring at times.

“My dad went to many years of college. He got into Georgia Tech and then he ended up going to Stanford to earn his Ph.D.,” Moody said. “I feel like there’s an expectation to be better than your parents, but I feel like it’ll be difficult to be better than them.”

Similarly, senior Jasmine Kelly-Tanti expressed conflicting thoughts in regards to her cultural upbringing.

“Ever since I was young – maybe two or three – my grandma started telling me, ‘You’re going to be a doctor,’ or ‘You’re going to be my doctor, Jasmine,’” Kelly-Tanti said. “It does make me feel bad sometimes, and there is guilt of not being able to possibly support her or my parents in the future.”

Kelly-Tanti hopes to major in music education and become a high school music teacher. The expected salary for a music teacher is around $50,000 to $70,000. Her musical passion started in fourth grade and has grown since.

“It wasn’t until this year when I decided to take two music classes instead of one. I’ve always been a part of the marching band, and this year, I am woodwind captain,” Kelly-Tanti said. “Last year, I ended up quitting a certain extracurricular to focus on music more.”

Moody highlighted the importance of introspection for individuals who are hesitant about their future path.

“Balance is important. Be able to read yourself,” Moody said. “Some people live miserably when they don’t have money to be able to go out to dinner and travel once a year. Some people are completely fine with that idea, so being able to read yourself and the kind of balance that would best fit your life and your needs is important.”