I want to take a break from the usual to talk about academic majors, a terrifying aspect of college for those who do not know what they want to do.
There are 4 main types of people when it comes to choosing a major:
- The people who know what they want to do and stick with it. One of my closest friends has known for years that she wanted to be a teacher and is currently pursuing this at University A (UA).
- The people who know what they want to do but switch majors in college. They begin with a desired major, say history for example, and then change their minds sometime during their college career.
- The people who don’t really know what they want to do, but they choose a major that interests them and go from there.
- The people who don’t really know what they want to do and take a general education track while they try to decide a program of study.
I’m a number 3. I began as an English major with a public administration minor, intending to pursue a writing or editing career. I eventually switched to undeclared.
When I got to College 1 (C1), I didn’t really know what to do. Literature classes didn’t particularly sound fun. While I was looking at the school’s academic programs, I stumbled upon social science. Courses that involved social work, psychology, marriage.This looked interesting; these were classes I wanted to take. So I became a social science major.
Choosing a major can be stressful–it’s a highly-pressured decision. Colleges want you to choose a major when you apply. You might want to declare a major so you have an idea of what you want to do for the rest of your life. The decision is important, but it shouldn’t be so frightening that it consumes your every thought. The great thing is that when you’re a senior in high school, you’ve only had a short amount of life experience. As you journey through college, you will begin to learn more about the world and what careers are available. There are the obvious: doctor, lawyer, psychologist, musician. But what about the copyeditors, the nautical archaeologists, and the oceanographers? The wildlife photographers and the artificial turf manufacturers?
The point is that there’s a vast array of jobs that some people don’t know exist! While choosing a college major is a crucial decision, it’s okay to change it. There is no shame in dropping an economics major for a communication disorders program. Research the programs at the colleges you want to attend (or find colleges that have the programs you’re looking for).
So what does my little personal history from earlier lead to? The benefit of experience. Colleges and universities have certain degree requirements. These usually include courses in humanities, sciences, mathematics, etc. I’ve heard so many complaints from people who “don’t need this class for anything…I’m a [insert-major-here] major.” Understandable. When you’re an English major, you will probably not use calculus in your daily work (and hopefully, that’s not included in your school’s degree requirements).
The best part about those required electives is that they build your knowledge base. It’s awesome. It may even change the course of your entire life–that’s how a lot of people decide on or change their major. Chemistry majors that become nursing students. Computer science majors who switch to technical writing. English majors who decide to study social work.
Because of these classes, I have learned about environmental science, macroeconomics, the U.S. Constitution, marriage and family, and health and wellness. Things click differently for me than they previously did, and the information you can retain these classes is incredible.
I don’t fear required classes. Instead, I try to be enthusiastic about them because who knows? They just may change everything for me in the best way possible.