Dear Annie: I'm in my last year of a pre-university study program and need to choose a university program in a couple of months. The problem is that I haven't the slightest idea of what I want to do. This decision is going to affect the rest of my life, and I feel incredibly unprepared. Of course, there are the programs my parents want me to go into such as accounting or economics, which would guarantee a high salary. I don't think I would enjoy those high-paying jobs, though.
I really like social sciences, but I know I'll never get money from studying one of those majors. I don't even know what jobs are in those fields. I want to have enough money to travel and go to concerts. But if I don't like my job, is it worth it? I also don't know if I'd enjoy my life if I couldn't do things because I don't have the money.
My sister just got out of university and is having a very hard time finding a job, which makes me nervous. What if I put in all this work at the university and don't get a job at the end? — Stressed-Out Student
Dear Stressed-Out Student: How do you know you will never get any money by studying social sciences, or that you will make so much money in doing something that you might not enjoy?
As Mark Twain said: "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
You are at a great time in your life to do just that. You can explore many options while in college. At most universities, you can take some courses in accounting or those majors that result in higher-paying "safe" jobs, and you can also take some courses in social sciences. Visit the career counseling office at your college to discuss this with someone who helps students with these questions.
As an adult, money and freedom will come to you with ease if you are living a fulfilled life, not if you are living for other people — including your parents.
Dear Annie: My husband had a great job, a great marriage, four terrific children, a beautiful home and even a sporty convertible to drive to the golf course. We decided, together, that it was more than enough. We retired early.
Now, 15 years later, we are heavily involved in volunteer work, have the prettiest flowers in the neighborhood, can be there for our kids at a moment's notice and still take nice vacations and golf. Though we decided to get rid of the sports car to make more room in the garage.
Others can see a therapist if they want, but I recommend a hobby, charity work and a church for people who are looking for more meaning in their lives. We don't feel like we have given up anything. These truly are the "Golden Years." — Blessed Beyond Things
Dear Blessed Beyond Things: Thank you for your beautiful letter. Serving others is one of the best gifts you can give to yourself. At the end of the day, it's not about how much money you have made, the status you have achieved or things you bought; it is about how many people you have loved, lives you changed for the better and hearts you touched. It sounds to me like you already know that. You really are "blessed beyond things."
"Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie" is out now! Annie Lane's debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit http://www.creatorspublishing.com for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to [email protected]