Lost Dreams

Conducted a “If Money Wasn’t An Object…” survey on student career objectives (current projected career path vs. true aspirations if money wasn't an object). Worked with dataset to create an interactive 3D installation. Displayed lost dreams (the true aspirations) on mirror boards in the University of Pennsylvania's Charles Addams Hall. 

Hypothesis: For undergraduate students looking to enter the workforce within the next 2-3 years, money is a major (if not, the most important) determinant when choosing a career.

 

Installation Video

Survey Findings 

From 40 responses, I saw a contrast from the answers to Q1 vs. the answers the Q2. Q1 showed practical, financially-stable fields, whereas Q2 showed fields that were traditionally financially-volatile and fostered more creativity.

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Where does the money lie?

Responses for Q1 split mostly among business and STEM fields.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, STEM majors, on average, earn $15,500/year more than non-STEM majors.

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Do people, essentially, choose unfulfilling careers?

Approx. 80% of subjects would have picked another career path, had money not been a factor.

The deep disconnect that people feel between themselves and their careers could be partially attributed to external motivatiors rather than intrinsic motivators, like passion.

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It is often a norm in our society to complain about our jobs. We dread the thought of starting the week every Monday morning, and while we’re at work, we count our hours until we can clock out. The cause? For kids in their late teens and early twenties — the “college conveyor belt.”

Oftentimes, students take up roles in fields they despise because it was not their choice to make — instead, they feel as if they have succumbed due to forces outside of their control, including post-graduation debt and student loans. Other psychological factors, like the desire for financial freedom from one’s family, and fear of economic instability, also come into play. The decision to subject oneself to the wheel of capitalism, comes from a belief of entrapment, either mentally or physically.

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“Lost Dreams”

Shot with Sony Alpha 6300