Careers & Education

What to study

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The question of what to study is best answered by leisurely forethought
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Considering what one wants to study involves a game plan

Sometimes, it’s nice to think about studying something new. Why not learn to dance? Take up fly fishing. Read about far-away lands. Dabble in fashion design. What to study is a question that can be answered from differing perspectives. Is the subject of study to be one that offers fun and self-fulfillment? Will it satisfy a longstanding curiosity? Will it add to a set of skills and lead to a better job? What to study usually is tied to one’s favorite activities—for example, hobbies or sports. But in many cases, one is forced to learn something by circumstance. For example, an invasion of vegetable-eating insects well may lead to reaching for a book on gardening or taking a crash course in what to do to control aphids, slugs or grasshoppers. Luckily, books today are supplemented by electronics and home computer equipment. Bargains abound on desktop models, hand-held devices with Internet capabilities and lightweight notebook computers. Researching a new subject is easy when modern study aids are available. What is it that appeals to you?

Studying for discovery

Those who enjoy tracking their ancestors and constructing charts that chronicle a family’s genealogy know what to study. They search for clues in attics and the basements of relatives. Some investigators pursue higher levels of what to study and advance their activities to an advanced level—recording their finds with high-tech gizmos such as hand-held page scanners and pocket video cameras. They graduate from pencil and paper as a result of what they study—modern methods for the study of genealogy. They study family heritage items and present their finds to friends and family. Oftentimes, the items are attractively arranged in display cases or scrap books lined with acid-free paper.

Golden nuggets of information are passed along to the upcoming generation through old, yellowed newspaper clippings, black-and-white photos, birth certificates, faded obituaries and packs of dusty, ribbon-bound letters—sometimes scrawled in quill pen. The artifacts provide a valuable record and knowing what to study enables the investigator to know what is valuable. But what to study also will include real estate records, school and military records. What to study, in these cases, sometimes takes a back seat to the question of where to look. Archives are found in some strange places—church basements, police departments and boy scout council offices, for instance.

Studying for self-satisfaction

Obtain a high-quality telescope and chances are good that pretty soon you will be looking for interesting facts about Jupiter or the times of the year when certain constellations are visible. What to study can have lead to increased knowledge—and skills that rapidly excel as practice increases. Sharing trivia about the solar system is a perk that impresses rookies. In a similar vein, a gift of a cookbook to one who can’t even boil water probably will result in an incoming supply of brownies, cupcakes, breads and beef tenderloins. What to study can be a tasty question, indeed. 

What to study often becomes connected to what is enjoyed in everyday life. There are many wonderful hobbies that are best appreciated when a base of knowledge is accumulated. The facts are important when what to study involves subjects such as growing tropical orchids or milking rattlesnakes to obtain venom for scientific research. Flowers die. Rattlesnakes bite. It’s the facts that ensure success—most of the time. Every field of interest has volumes of facts that make what to study a question to be carefully weighed answered by the individual.

Studying for job success

Today’s marketplace is populated with folks from many countries. What to study often is answered by the question of what is needed. The laws of supply and demand remain constants but the scales of success always will tip in favor of someone who can provide goods and services to people with communication challenges such as language barriers.

Other challenges include the physical limitations of the customer. Perhaps a hearing-impaired person needs to be addressed through sign language. Perhaps a blind person needs some sales materials written in Braille. Maybe the customer speaks Spanish or Chinese. What to study becomes a matter of how to do a better job—and that often leads to a better paycheck.

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