At his Stanford University commencement speech in 2005, Steve Jobs famously proclaimed that ‘the only way to do great work is to love what you do.’ So should you study what you love, or what you’re good at? 

Throughout your time in education, the chances are you’ll receive a lot of conflicting advice from various people in your life. Unfortunately, there’s no universal right answer to this question. But there are decisions that are right for certain people. 

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For some, it’s a case of being realistic and seeing your education as an investment that you want to pay back one day. Degree courses nowadays are expensive and this fact alone could impact your decision. Perhaps the subject that you’re good at has the potential to get you a really great job at the end of it, whereas the subject you love could turn out to be a fantastic hobby on the side. Salary isn’t everything, of course, as people that go down this route are also looking for job security – and to be the best they can be in their chosen field. 

Others find it hard to force themselves to study something they’re less interested in, especially when the end goal is to turn this into an equally uninteresting career in the future. For these people, job satisfaction far outweighs salary and they’d rather be truly passionate about their career, hoping that this commitment will land them their dream job at some point in the future. These arguments do tend to be more inspiring, but they are also often criticised for being unrealistic. 

Students in our Harborough tutoring centre

The biggest advocates of either argument are invariably those that have seen true success as a result of this decision. There are also those who fall into both categories; those that are great at something they love, blurring the lines a little. Though Steve Jobs followed a very unconventional path, there’s no denying that he wasn’t great with technology and innovation. It was his skill, as well as his passion, that enabled him to build Apple from the ground up. 

So what should you do? Try not to let the pressure of those conflicting opinions make a decision you’ll be unhappy with. Figure out what’s important to you, and perhaps make a pros and cons list if you need to weigh up two options. Whatever you decide, it’s definitely better to have a good hard think about it now than have a crisis a few years down the line. 

Sarah with some of her lovely students

Sarah with some of her lovely students

At INICIO, we have years of experience supporting our students through these big life decisions. Perhaps the extra support that comes from our tuition could give you the confidence to follow a path you were less sure of before, or our stimulating environment could encourage you to love a subject you previously thought you hated. Feel free to pop in for a chat to find out how our private tuition can help you! 

Watch the full video of Steve Job's commencement speech here...