2019 Student Research Conference:
32nd Annual Student Research Conference

Passion: Do We Find It or Cultivate It? A Study of Two Major Selection Philosophies

Jonathan M. Vieker♦
Dr. Yuna Ferguson, Faculty Mentor

How should a college student choose a major in which they will be successful and passionate? Conventional wisdom suggests that we must find a major or career that we are passionate about, while a small body of research suggests passion is usually cultivated gradually. Some research shows that a belief in preexisting passion is associated with high expectations and a low tolerance for difficulty. To test the hypothesis that students who believe in preexisting passion experience more distress than those who believe it is cultivated, a survey measured 385 Truman students’ attitudes and beliefs about their academic major, along with their distress. The results suggest that students who believe passion is preexisting actually experience slightly lower levels of distress and higher levels of both self-efficacy and satisfaction with their major. This presentation will examine possible explanations for and implications of these findings.

Keywords: passion, higher education, major, motivation


Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 202-1
Location: BH 114
Time: 10:15

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♦ Indicates Truman Graduate Student
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