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[China Educational News] Jiao Hongchang: The Relationship between Majors, Interests and Occupations.
TIME: 2021-03-01|CLICKS:

Hello, young friends, I’ m Jiao Hongchang, from the Law School of China University of Political Science and Law. At the invitation of the column New Teacher Theory sponsored by Higher Education Weekly of China Education News, I’d like to share my opinions about law.

Before talking, I want to discuss a question with you: What is the relationship among the major chosen for college, our interests and future occupations?

Interests Guides the Choice of Major

For many years, I’ve been taking part in the admissions work of Law School. During the interview, I can talk to students directly. At this time, I usually ask them some questions, such as “why do you want to study law?” and “what’s your original intention?” Such questions are not to examine how well the students know about legal knowledge, but to examine their expressive and thinking ability through their answers.

Students’ answers are very interesting. Some students say that they feel that the rule of law and laws have far-reaching influence on the country and the nation, so they want to participate in building a country ruled by law. Some students mention the family influence, which helps them realize the value of legal workers and inspire their passion for fairness.

These students show more or less interest in law, which makes me reach the conclusion that interest is ranked first in the choice of major.

Since I stayed as a teacher in 1983, I have given classes to undergraduates every year, and later to postgraduates and doctoral students. My experience for so many years has told me that students’ interest is very important for professional study. Interest will give us more humanistic care and make the professional career more meaningful. Without interest, not only will the professional career go hard, but students themselves will fall into distress.

Since interest may determine our choice of major and promote the process of major study, is there an inevitable connection between interest and occupation?

Occupation and Interest are not Necessarily Related

Let my give three examples:

The first one is related to a student from Six-year Experimental Class in Law School. The experimental class cultivates practical legal talents, and students will receive a Juris Master degree instead of Legum Master degree. This student mentioned that she wanted to do academic research and get a Legum Master degree. So she chose to quit the experimental class and attend the postgraduate entrance examination.

Exit is risky, which means there is no guarantee. If she is not admitted to graduate school, she will have to leave school after graduating from undergraduate course. For her, the pressure is also quite great, fortunately, she succeeded in the postgraduate entrance examination. And then this student intended to pursue a doctorate from college. After a discussion between our teachers, we encouraged her to do so. However, she went to the law firm for internship and suddenly realized that the legal practice work fit her well. Later, she became a very successful lawyer.

The second one is also about a student of mine. He studied with me at undergraduate, master’s and doctoral levels, and stayed in a university as a teacher after graduation.

He came to see me once at home and complained about his troubles at the present stage, that he could do his work well, but he didn’t really like it, and he was slower than others in doing scientific research and issuing papers. Because his greatest interest is not doing research, not being a teacher, but Peking Opera.

The third is the teacher from the functional department of our school. He studied law at school, and has been doing teaching management since work. His real hobby is calligraphy. His calligraphy level is so good that many teachers ask him for calligraphy works as a gift representing Chinese culture whenever they visit abroad.

He was happy about his retirement because he can devote himself to calligraphy for 5 hours every day without being tired at all. He really formed influence gradually.

What is the Real Interest?

Some students choose majors based on interests before entering university. In my opinion, students’ interest come from different motives. For example, some students like law just because they used to be touched by a legal movie. However, such motives are not enough to support their interest to rise to the level of career and even life planning.

Their interests may change after they enter university. In other words, the previous interest may only be superficial interest, which temporarily obscures the real interest. After all, young people had limited access to people, things and even fields. The guidance that parents can offer is limited as well. During growing up, it’s normal for interests to change.

There is also another common situation. Under the exam-oriented education, many students’ interests are suppressed by examination. They apply for schools and choose majors according to their scores, and they can’t say that they have no interest. For example, the second student mentioned above, he doesn’t hate law, otherwise he can’t study hard to graduate from doctoral degree. But as he grew older, he found his favorite field. He once told me that by studying and performing Peking Opera, he can get a sense of accomplishment and realize his own value. From the perspective of perfect personality, this is also a kind of happiness and perfection.

Students studying in comprehensive universities are more likely to be attracted by their interests other than their major. They can be exposed to many different fields, such as philosophy, literature, drama and so on, by choosing courses and participating in various activities. After the contact surface is extended, it is easier to find out what you really like and suit yourself.

Therefore, I have been engaged in education for so many years, and I see many students who are engaged in jobs unrelated to their majors after graduation, which is not surprising.

Universities only play the role of early training and cultivation, and how far a person can go in society mainly depends on personal cultivation, which is the real path of talent growth. What major you studies at first can’t determine the direction of a person’s life.

Having talked about this, I’ll leave everyone a question worthy of further consideration, that is, what is the real interest.