Money or Happiness?

Money or Happiness?

The struggles of the new graduate

It is no secret that student loan debt is an epidemic these days. As someone who just graduated from a doctorate-level program, my student loans are piled high and extremely overwhelming. I am sure that many fellow graduates from any type of program know and feel the same struggles. United we all stand, young, wild and maybe not so free due to the financial burden of it all.

Along with student loan debt come dreams and aspirations. I have always dreamed of traveling and working with the pediatric population post-graduation. Unfortunately I am in a situation in which travel jobs and pediatric therapy do not necessarily mix and pediatric jobs themselves are generally lower-paying and require more experience than other clinical settings. Amidst my job search, I have tried to keep my options open, this includes the option of taking a higher-paying, non-pediatric job close to home in order to get an early jump on paying back my student loans.

So I have a choice: money or happiness? This is a choice I think that many of us face, especially when looking for that first full-time job in our field of study. I have had a lot of trouble with this decision because I worry that if I don’t go travel and adventure now then I never will; life will catch up to me, I will settle down and responsibilities will build making these dreams less conceivable. I have spoken to some friends and it seems that I am not alone in my worries. At the same time, wouldn’t it be more logical to take that higher-paying job with better benefits, build up my savings and begin alleviating the heavy weight on my shoulders of debt? Then I could finally use my earnings to go travel and to have those adventures in a more carefree and relaxed manner.

But then my heart takes over the thoughts of my head and I want to go rather than stay. I want the clinic full of kiddos and to go to new places, letting my imagination and independence shine. So I guess that I have a new choice to make: head or heart? I have people in my corner no matter the decision for which I am more than grateful. They tell me that if I need to go, then go, but if I need to stay, then stay.

You may be asking "Are money and happiness necessarily mutually exclusive?" I have been asking myself the exact same thing, hoping that during my job search I stumble upon that substantially paying pediatric job that is willing to hire a new graduate with limited experience (you know since most places want you to have experience to gain experience -- yet another dilemma that we face). To those of you who somehow scored that dream job in that dream location with a beautifully substantial paycheck, cheers to you; however, for the rest of us I think it is important to remember that we are just getting started and everyone needs to start somewhere. We can achieve the dream job with the substantial paycheck, just maybe not right away.

I don’t really know what the future holds, but I think that either way I will be okay and you will be too. Just because you take that logical job right out of school doesn’t make you a sell-out, it makes you a determined person that is willing to grin and bear it until you can go on the adventure of a lifetime. At the same time, just because you take the lower-paying job and go on adventures right out of school (whatever they may be, far or local) doesn’t make you irresponsible, it just means that your heart needs what it needs and I think that to recognize that is a very responsible thing.

For those of you struggling just like me, I have no doubt that we will get there. Just promise me that you will stick to that five or ten year plan and follow those dreams whether it be now or later. There is nothing wrong with using your head, but don’t neglect that amazing heart of yours. We didn’t spend years in school to not eventually end up right where we want to be. So money or happiness? That is completely up to you. As for me, I'm going to let my heart decide.

Cover Image Credit: Coaco
Cover Image Credit: GuideOn Blog
Cover Image Credit: Linkis

Popular Right Now

17 Empowering Bible Verses For Women

You go, girl.

We all have those days where we let the negative thoughts that we're "not good enough," "not pretty enough" or "not smart enough" invade our minds. It's easy to lose hope in these situations and to feel like it would be easier to just give up. However, the Bible reminds us that these things that we tell ourselves are not true and it gives us the affirmations that we need. Let these verses give you the power and motivation that you're lacking.

1. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed with strength and dignity and she laughs without fear of the future."

2. Psalm 46:5

"God is within her, she will not fall."

3. Luke 1:45

"Blessed is she who believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her."

4. Proverbs 31:17

"She is energetic and strong, a hard worker."

5. Psalm 28:7

"The Lord is my strength and my shield."

6. Proverbs 11:16

"A gracious woman gains respect, but ruthless men gain only wealth."

7. Joshua 1:9

"Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."

8. Proverbs 31:30

"Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last; but a woman who fears the Lord will be greatly praised."

9. 1 Corinthians 15:10

"By the grace of God, I am what I am."

10. Proverbs 31:26

"When she speaks, her words are wise, and she gives instructions with kindness."

11. Psalm 139:14

"I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made."

12. 1 Peter 3:3-4

"Don't be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God."

13. Colossians 2:10

"And in Christ you have been brought to fullness."

14. 2 Timothy 1:7

"For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline."

15. Jeremiah 29:11

"'For I know the plans I have for you,' says the Lord. 'They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.'"

16. Exodus 14:14

"The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm."

17. Song of Songs 4:7

"You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way."

Next time you're feeling discouraged or weak, come back to these verses and use them to give you the strength and power that you need to conquer your battles.

Cover Image Credit: Julia Waterbury

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Poetry On Odyssey: Some Days

A poem that reminds you that you're not alone.


Some days,

You dread the sound of your alarm. You snooze and snooze and snooze and snooze.

When you finally pull yourself out of bed, pressed time forces you to throw on stained sweats

you find yourself chugging a cup of coffee.

You sit on the couch and contemplate calling out of work

You caught the stomach bug,

Or perhaps the flu,

Maybe you broke your collar bone

Or need a new phone

The endless list of excuses repeats through your head as you sit on the couch, wishing you were still in bed.

It takes every ounce

Every breath

Every fiber of your being to pull yourself off the couch

And into the car

And into the building where you work

Some days,

This is just how it goes

You are not alone.

Some days,

You awake to the beautiful sound of birds

Chirping outside your window

The sun sneaks its way into your room

A smile creeps across your face as you realize you are awake to see a new day

You make a good breakfast

You read a few pages of your favorite book

You get your mind ready for the things it will accomplish today

Before you know it you've worked an entire day

Your job is done

As you pull into your driveway,

you take a few breaths

Feeling grateful for another meaningful day.

Some days,

This is how it goes

You are not alone.

Every day is a gamble,

Every day is a gift

The key to getting more good days

Is believing that everyday is one.

You are not alone, this is just how it goes.

Related Content

Facebook Comments