What on earth will you do with a GEOGRAPHY degree?

For many of us, we get this question a lot:

“Well, what will you do with a(n) [insert Social Science/Humanities/Fine Arts subject here] degree?”

Or, there’s the alternative:

“Oh, so you want to be a(n) [insert Social Science/Humanities/Fine Arts subject here] teacher!”

Time and time again, I’ve had friends of friends, strangers, and family members ask me these questions. At first it was a bit offensive, but over time I just started replying with, “I can do anything I want.”

Just because the job title isn’t in your degree doesn’t mean you won’t get a job after graduation. Education isn’t just about education—it’s what you make of it that makes an education valuable. From music to theatre to anthropology to sports psychology, all types of degrees can change the world (and have!).

Just like specializing in a type of engineering (computer, civil, etc.), you can specialize within any degree. Within my Geography degree, I specialize in Environment and Sustainability, and coupled with my Professional Communications minor, I plan to educate the public on climate change and environmental sustainability.

And while being a geography teacher is probably my worst nightmare, if I really wanted to, I could do that too. I could also become a full-time academic, researching the best way to manage Pacific Salmon stocks or the geographical trends of Malaria to help prevent the disease. Or I could use my passion for sustainability to start up my own environmental non-profit organization, working towards a cause I believe in. And after all that, I could even get a Master’s degree and become an urban planner, making our cities more livable, beautiful, and sustainable.

Each person’s degree will take them down a different path – whether it’s sociology, geography, visual arts, or English.

It takes a bit of imagination, but you can really do anything with your degree. This past summer I spent a co-op term working at an art gallery, and even then my geography skills and knowledge helped me each day in the workplace. If you’re still feeling weary about finding a post-graduation job, even if you’re in first year, start making it easy for yourself now! Build your resume, get experience in your field through co-op, and find what you’re passionate about.

Like Erin said in her recent post, no education is wasted. Each degree is unique and will lead each person down a different path. So study what you want and do what you’re passionate about, and you’ll be thankful you did.

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