Interest or certainty: which of the two will determine the study programme you go for?

Selecting a study programme: see what happens when you start considering such a huge selection. You'll be plagued by FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) and FOBO (Fear of Better Options). And then there will be family members who harass you with unsolicited advice.

The million dollar question in this kind of predicament: should you go in a direction that you're interested in, or one that's guaranteed to help you land a job later on? Should you opt for what you enjoy doing most, or should you stick with what's most logical? In a nutshell: does your head or your heart win out?

To lend you a hand, we've listed the various arguments below: for your heart and your head.

#1. let your brain do the deciding, because…

… what's most important is that you're gainfully employed later on.

Consultancy and advisory company, Deloitte, estimates that approximately 300,000 Dutch, and 100,000 Flemish students are studying for a job that (in all likelihood) will no longer be around in the future.

There's a frown on your face. What for?

The rise of the robots, naturally, or rather, because of the labour market's digitisation. An increasing number of jobs are being automated, simply because machines are becoming smarter and more convenient. It's not just an adorable robot hoover in your living room though, there's also one that takes your order at the chips shop.

So what's the consequence? Loads of jobs are disappearing, but thankfully new ones are also popping up. That's why you should choose with your head, and study for a job that will still be there in five years' time.


#2. let your heart lead the way, because…

… with enough incentive and interest, you can go anywhere.

Is there something you think is incredibly fascinating? Then go for it, even if the job prospects are scarce. When you're driven and motivated, all roads lead to your dream job.

Digitisation? You're flexible, learn the skills needed and make yourself future proof. Are they only accepting the cream of the crop? Don't sweat it, because that's what you'll become:  end of story.

#3. let your brain do the deciding, because…

… you really don't have a clue.

Your interests are all over the place, but pinning one of those down to a specific course of study, or bringing motivation, drive and passion into it? Nah. Can't do it.

That's why you should let your brain do the deciding, and see what the labour market has to say. Did you select a more generic study programme? Well, then there will always be options for you to choose from later, once you have a better idea of what piques your interest – and what doesn't. With a law degree, you still have the option of going into sales or opting for an administrative position. If you go for one of the two latter options though, you might not be so lucky.


#4. let your heart lead the way, because…

… a degree isn't as important as it seems.

Would you like to hear the names of some of the people who made it without a degree? Take your pick from the following: Bill Gates (Microsoft), Steve Jobs (Apple), Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), etc.

What that means is that you don't always need a degree to be successful. Moreover, there are loads of people who study one thing, but then do something completely different afterwards. Or they switch careers if their job doesn't tick their boxes any more. So let your heart lead the way, and fill the next five years with something that interests you.


it's your decision!

In a perfect world, you're passionate about your field of study and follow it up with a job where there's demand. It's a job that won't disappear when machines take over the wo...- ahem...when the labour market becomes automated.

However, if you don't happen to match this vision, the decision is yours: do you let your brain do the deciding or let your heart lead the way?