By Prudent Ndihokubwayo 

People say that education is the pathway to success, but all of us know people with a good education who have never succeeded, as well as people with no education, who have succeeded in life. What is success anyhow? Most people equate it with having a lot of possessions. But is that success? 

When you have a lot of money, drive a nice car, or live in a million-dollar home, society says you have made it. And people also equate success with being known by a lot of people. But in my opinion, success goes beyond possessions and fame. We all know of so many people who have all the riches that the world can offer but feel miserable. To me, success means the ability to enjoy life no matter what you have – or do not have. It means finding your place of fulfillment. Enjoying what you do in life. In other words, having peace of mind in your area of work. 

And this is where choosing a field of study in school really matters. One of the struggles that immigrants and U.S.-born citizens share is the choice of what to study in college. In my educational journey, it took me years to figure out what I wanted to study. I thought that was because I was from Africa, where there are not a lot of different fields of study to choose from, like here. But even Americans struggle with the choice – it helped me to know I was not alone in my confusion. 

When I finally decided to study English, I struggled with people accepting – or even believing – that I was studying English as a major in college. But it was what gave me a sense of purpose and fulfillment. Nothing else was fulfilling. There are many people who choose to study medicine, but hate to see blood. And others who study business, but don’t know how to speak or negotiate a contract. A lot of people choose a major in college to have a good job when they finish. Which means money is the primary goal, not knowledge. 

So many people are miserable, doing jobs they do not like because they chose money over fulfillment and peace of mind. Success comes when you are doing what you were made to do; not just when you become a millionaire. Having millions of dollars is not bad, but it shouldn’t be the primary goal. The question should be: what makes me feel alive, and gives me a sense of fulfillment? I believe when it comes to education, people should study what fulfills them most, without the fear of failing in life. Because success is enjoying what you do, and having peace of mind.