In economics, there is this principle called the "opportunity cost." According to investopedia.com, opportunity cost refers to "a benefit that a person could have received, but gave up, to take another course of action... an alternative given up when a decision is made."
I first came across the term when I took economics my senior year in high school. The only I remember from class is my teacher breaking it down in a way that made it applicable to life. How you weigh your options knowing what you could possibly miss at other options.
Some examples he used were: the opportunity cost of working full time vs. going to college, or the opportunity cost of getting married out of high school vs. getting married out of college. There were many more examples he told us; I can still hear him using them to this day.
Now almost five years later, I am a college graduate and seem to be completely reimagining that entire principle. I realize as I take the first steps of my career that suddenly an opportunity cost in life has become more complex than even economics can explain.
No means am I an economist but this is my attempt to understand and interpret the meaning of it in a new way.
Another principle that seems to discredits opportunity cost is the principle of serendipity. Many people are told to plan their lives and everything will fall into place. However, we as human beings live very unpredictable and fluid lives. Our lives can change within a second.
I had planned to be a music teacher when I graduated high school. Though I really wanted to be a singer, I thought being a music teacher was more realistic and feasible. I suddenly realized after I took AP English courses that writing had been my passion for the longest time. Writing gave me so much joy that it confirmed for me that this it was the major I should pursue.
But along the way, I had to weigh my options. Do writers make a lot of money? How hard is it to become a writer? Should I be more realistic and just become an English teacher? These questions became more real the minute I graduated college and was out living in the real world. If I do become a English teacher, do I risk negatively impacting young students because of my lack of passion for teaching high school and my disbelief in the education system?
More importantly, how much say does my passion and my dreams have when it comes to opportunity cost?
No matter the opportunity cost, is there a price on your happiness? Even if you major in business or education, get a job as a accountant or teacher, make really good money, if that is not your passion, is it really worth the opportunity cost?