Follow the cash or follow your passion?

With matric results out yesterday, it got me thinking about the pressures on students to study a “recognized” degree.
I heard a matriculant who got 6 A’s on the radio saying that he can’t decide between chemical engineering or medicine.
Both are extreme opposites, and he isn’t passionate about either, but the expectation is that if you’re smart, you need to go on and study a degree.
A student who got 6 A’s going into hairdressing or beauty is unheard of.
If you are an expert in your industry, be it fashion designing or actuarial science, you’re going to make money. A successful chef will make more money than someone who is repeating their BCom Accounting degree for the third time.
I firmly believe that 18 is too young to make a career choice. Teenagers are so influenced by what their parents would like for them, as well as what is perceived in society as successful.
Matriculants should spend some time in the real world before making a career choice. Do volunteer work, earn some cash, travel a bit and get to know your strengths well.
There are far too many professionals out there who passed their degrees with flying colours, but are miserably unhappy in their careers because their passion lies elsewhere.
Parents, don’t force your kids to study something that will make YOU look good to your peers.  Your child needs to make their life decision by themselves, with as little influence from you as possible.
Passion shines out more than intellect- and some of the richest people in our country (and the world) are entrepreneurs who just had a smart idea- no university degree intended.
As they say, If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.