What Should You Study?

School can be a very challenging aspect of being gifted.  Not so much in terms of marks or success usually, because gifted people often fairly efficiently produce the kind of work that their professors are looking for, but more along the lines of what to study for the long haul.

We have a lot of trouble choosing one field of study in college or university that we will stay with for the rest of our lives.

Did you catch it? Hidden in that line of thinking, the kind that almost all of us have, lies a mortal flaw – the “stay with for the rest of our lives” part.  You might as well shoot us point blank with as big a gun as you can find if you expect us to do the same thing forever.  We’re  just not wired to do that.

If you think for a moment about other people you know I’m sure you’ll find quite of few of them who are working in an area that they didn’t get their diplomas or degrees in.  They found something that worked for them in the end and they did it.

So why do we think we need to be any different?  We always want to have the perfect answer and the perfect solution to all of life’s problems today.  But life doesn’t work like that.

So what’s the solution?  One we can live with right now anyway? Even though you love many things and for sure wouldn’t hesitate to explore all of them, pick just one and go with it.  The rest of the list you can get around to later.  And if you’re not sure which one should be the biggie for you, go with your gut — use that developing sense of knowing.  Then go ahead and do your very best in that field.

Gifted adults are always learning and creating anyway, so even if you get a degree in one area that certainly won’t stop you from exploring and experiencing others, right?

So stop stressing, as difficult as that may be, and continue on with your life.  There’s so much more to do, and the world is waiting! 🙂

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  • Electrically

    My question is less “what should I study?” and more “should I study?”

    I am fresh out of high school. I am expected to go straight into university in a challenging subject, get some sort of Ph.D. and completely overhaul the entire structure of the world. Okay, it’s not so much a rigid expectation as it is a unspoken prediction. Still, it means that advice is less useful.
    Having been presented with no vision of how to have a life that does not involve university, and having terrible experiences with secondary education, I am hesitant to choose any field of study. I keep getting told that the “next step” or the “higher level” is where people like me are, but after hearing it enough times you grow skeptical. And anyway, I would like to retain the freedom of having no money. If I want to travel (which I do), and I get into a scrape and have to work for enough money to fly home, I’d like to have only the plane ticket in mind and not a massive student loan debt as well.

    That said, I would absolutely love to overhaul the entire structure of the world. There’s nothing I would like more. I’d love to be involved in social justice and aid work and I want to create art and music until I die. Those are all things I would want to study. I know what I am passionate about and I know what I want to change.

    But there has to be an alternative to university. There has to be a way to accomplish something meaningful without paying $30000 and writing a thesis paper to do it.

    My apologies for turning this into a confessional or an advice column. I am directionless and the stagnation is agonizing. I’m falling into the gifted existential depression, the “why do anything if x is true?” fatalistic lines of questioning. Asking for advice has generally led to “shut up, go to school” or “don’t think about it”. I figure a gifted source would be more understanding.

    • http://giftedforlife.com Sonia Dabboussi

      If university is where you see yourself going, then go there. If not, then don’t. The educational system is designed to accommodate the average person in the average situation. It does address the needs of the more academically advanced as well, don’t get me wrong, but the system is designed for the masses.

      As a gifted person, your options are nearly limitless. Most of the people around you won’t tell you to run off and travel and live your life on the edge since that won’t work for them, but I truly believe that you have to follow your passion in life. We experience passions for a reason, so why not follow them? They’ll lead us to what we do very best and that’s what the world needs from us anyway.

      If you choose not to go to school now that doesn’t mean you can never go. It just means you won’t go right now. Later on you may choose to study something fantastic at university and be very happy doing it. Maybe it will take some world exploration to figure out what that should be…

      Every person is different. I’d say follow your heart but keep and open mind and search for the greater meaning in what you’re doing. Don’t give up on the world, but discover what you can best give the world, and yourself. If you have time and opportunity, why hold yourself back?

    • http://giftedforlife.com giftedforlife

      If university is where you see yourself going, then go there. If
      not, then don’t. The educational system is designed to accommodate the
      average person in the average situation. It does address the needs of
      the more academically advanced as well, don’t get me wrong, but the
      system is designed for the masses.

      As a gifted person, your options are nearly limitless. Most of the
      people around you won’t tell you to run off and travel and live your
      life on the edge since that won’t work for them, but I truly believe
      that you have to follow your passion in life. We experience passions
      for a reason, so why not follow them? They’ll lead us to what we do
      very best and that’s what the world needs from us anyway.

      If you choose not to go to school now that doesn’t mean you can never
      go. It just means you won’t go right now. Later on you may choose to
      study something fantastic at university and be very happy doing it.
      Maybe it will take some world exploration to figure out what that should
      be…

      Every person is different. I’d say follow your heart but keep and
      open mind and search for the greater meaning in what you’re doing.
      Don’t give up on the world, but discover what you can best give the
      world, and yourself. If you have time and opportunity, why hold
      yourself back?