College has a lot of benefits to offer, especially the privilege of being able to choose our own major. It’s a time where we determine our future and decide whether we want to perform open-heart surgery, write poems, build software, design spaceships or excavate dinosaur bones for a living. In college, we lucky students are granted the freedom to explore our passion and practice studies that our minds were meant to develop. Nonetheless, facing all these choices makes picking a major a daunting decision. We worry that we could walk away from graduation into a career that may not be truly what we hoped for, or worse, one that leads us into the unemployment line. What most students misunderstand is that a major is nothing more than a goal that leads towards college graduation, and that your career can be something completely different when out in the real world. Here’s how you can choose the best major for you, without any underlying regrets or fears.
1. Take Risks
Four years is much shorter than you’d think, but don’t be afraid to take the time you need to explore. Try a variety of different fields that interest you, such as Astronomy, Engineering, Sociology, or even Dance. Those of us who find many subjects interesting should embrace their open-mindedness and feel out every option. I came to college with an open major and spent the first two years taking bizarre yet interesting classes. I dipped my toes in Journalism, attempted Pre-Med, declared myself as a Geology major for a moment, and even took an Engineering course (which I knew instantly wasn’t the field for me!). It’s exciting to taste all the flavors of learning, so indulge!
2. Listen To Your Heart, Not Your Parents
If you absolutely love making pottery, writing stories, or playing the tuba, then do what your heart is telling you! Despite the collapsing economy and high competition to succeed in the employment world, your happiness is worth much more than your bank account. During my Junior year my parents informed me that my college major reflects my employment. My dad encouraged that I try fancy majors, like Engineering and Calculus because I was decent at math. Oh boy, was that a mistake! The first day in my Engineering class, sitting next to a weird assortment of students and discussing the process of Coslettizing, I knew it wasn’t for me. If you are passionate about something you will most likely succeed in that field. Money does not need to be the driving force behind your choice for a major.
3. Understand Expectations
As you may already know, college is pretty dang difficult. Yes, you should study topics that keep you interested and motivated; however, do not take the easy way out. If you truly want to become a doctor, don’t let the fear of grueling hours slaving away on Chemistry homework stop you. Know that with setting a goal comes many obstacles, and conquering them is much more rewarding than simply going through the motions just to say you graduated college.
4. Get An Internship
For some, more knowledge of a subject is acquired through hands-on experience rather than sitting in a classroom. My major was Psychology, though I found my expertise and enthusiasm for Marketing through internships. I’m not saying that I regret taking Psychology, but instead used my studies about the way people think in order to direct my viewpoints in Marketing. Internships can help validate your interest in a major, or teach you to associate your major with other careers, as I did. By mixing an actual work environment with school you can delve much deeper into what you do best.
5. Majors Don’t Determine Your Future
This may sound silly, but, in most cases these days, it really doesn’t matter which major you choose. Most college students end up pursuing a career in something completely different than what they majored in. Going to graduate school is one thing, but if you choose just to stick with a Bachelor’s Degree then there is no reason to stress about the outcome of the major in which you receive your diploma. The purpose of college is to help you discover yourself, mature and grow as an individual, and gain knowledge and experiences that you will utilize throughout your entire life. Study something that keeps you excited to learn, but let yourself go freely with whatever is thrown your way after college. Remember, even the classes you don’t relate to will come into play later at some point in your life. All knowledge is good knowledge. You are destined for greatness, so go forward with confidence knowing that everything will indeed work out in the end.