Passion is the key to success

November 2nd, 2014

The University of Nottingham is encouraging prospective students to follow their heart as well as their head. The Study What You Love campaign focuses on enjoying your subject — whatever that may be.

The campaign’s ambassador is philosopher Professor Stephen Mumford, Dean of the Faculty of Arts.

“It was love of the subject that led me to study philosophy. I doubt I could have done well at university without that,” said Prof Mumford.

“Although I didn’t understand exactly what philosophy was, I had a sense that it was interesting and important. The world seemed full of fundamental mysteries and it was only in philosophy that there was hope of solving them.”

Courses for subjects without an obvious career attached — such as philosophy — still shape our students into effective communicators, confident presenters, skilled analysts and innovative problem solvers. A survey by the Daily Telegraph placed philosophy graduates as eighth most employable by subject.

Prof Mumford said: “I use the analytic, rational skills of philosophy in so much else, not just my research and teaching. Good thinkers are needed in all professions and the skills are useful in every task.

“The idea of Study What You Love sends the right signal. Passion for a subject area is the best way in which to excel. In so doing, you will acquire all sorts of skills that can take you forward even in a career you didn’t anticipate.”

Prof Mumford wrote about the importance of studying a subject you feel passionate about on the Study What You Love blog. A post from Tim Smith, from law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP, adds: “The subject a graduate has studied isn’t important at all, we are much more interested in the skills that a candidate can display.”

Sarah Perkins, a third year Dietetics student, said: “It means that when work is really hard, you have something that gets you through; an aim for all the work and a passion for all you learn.

“On a vocational course you have to want to work with people and you have to care about people; you can’t just get by with academia and getting good marks. Studying what you love will mean you enjoy it and this will feed into everything else you do.”

Shane Chard, a second year English and American Studies student, added: “Many people are curious about how I will turn this into a career. I always answer: my degree will equip me with an abundance of transferable skills, but what I will use to stand out from the crowd are the extracurricular activities on offer at Nottingham.”

Visit the Study What You Love blog at

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