Slug: Are You Choosing A Career That Best Suits You Or Best Serves You?
Synopsis: Too often in Egypt is the basic thought of choosing a major that spirits out of your interests mixed up with an earning potential that puts our passion capacities to the grounds. Do the factors affecting one's decision have a clearer idea of the employment circumstances in Egypt? And if so why can't we challenge these obstacles and go after what we do best and choose our passion.
Pitch: Having a clash between one's field of interest and one's choice of major is a very common situation in Egypt. According to the AUC fact book; the two most popular undergraduate majors in the American University in Cairo is the School of Sciences and Engineering with a 42% of total enrollment. Following in second place is the School of business with a 31/5%. Unfortunately, our society is one that forms a lot of barriers preventing students to go after their interests rather than their goals. Now days the youth is powered by a goal of securing their financial status and achieving a high social status. As a result of such mentality, when a student is choosing their major with ultimately sets their career in motion, they consider several factors in mind that have nothing to do with "personal interests" or passion.
Between the clash of personal interest and a dilemma of living up to expectations set by parents and the society, true potentials and talents are gone to waste every year at AUC. With such percentages of enrollments in each major there is huge concern about the development of this country. The new generation is raised with a mentality that to get highly paid and prestigious jobs regardless of what their interests truly are. An Engineering Students who spends most of his days on projects and five years of his life getting is degree might not have passion for the path he perused. However, the choice was made according to what will best serve him in his future which is a high social status which is set in Egypt for Doctors and Engineers mainly.
Obviously Egypt now days is not a land of opportunities, but for it to develop it needs people working in a variety of professions such as psychology, politics ..Etc.
When people stick themselves to a path of life they are not enjoying they become unproductive; while when doing what you love you can be ten times as more productive. Any job can be quite profitable and prestigious if the person explores their inner capabilities and talent. A study conducted by James V. Koch indicates that “Students choice of major field of study is significantly related to the internal rate of return on student investment in an undergraduate degree earned." This statement explains how the relationship between choosing one's major is directly related to the field which is most likely to offer the highest wages and statues in return.
In further illustration to my argument I ran a crosscheck between the enrollment rates of undergraduate majors in comparison to the unemployment rates in Egypt from 2004 through 2013. My theory is that the more students majoring in engineering and business related majors, the higher the unemployment rate in each year respectively. According to the CAPMAS (Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics), the official statistical agency of Egypt, and unemployment rates during 2013 hit the roof with a 13.4 percent of total population. On the other hand, according to the AUC fact book, from year 2004 the number of students declaring in both the school of business and the school of sciences and engineering has been increasing each year than the year before. For example in 2008 the total number of students in the school of business was 683 and in the school of engineering 648. The unemployment rate of that year was recorded to be 9.4%. In 2010, school of business had 727 students while the school of sciences and engineering had844 students in total. Correspondingly the unemployment rate of that year in Egypt was higher than that of 2008, with 9.4% unemployment. Thus, the theory holds truth within it, the more people majoring and going to the same field the more unemployment in Egypt.
Dr. Khaled Nassar
Title: An associate professor of construction and architectural engineering