Choosing a major in college can be a daunting task that many think will determine the rest of their life and their future career path. Colleges often require students to state what their intended major is before even attending causing huge amounts of pressure on High School students to know what they want to major in before they even attend their first class is immense.
How can someone choose to major in something they’ve never experienced, never even taken as a class before? It’s not surprising that many of my college friends told me they realized the major they thought they wanted to pursue was something that they did not end up even majoring or minoring in!
I have been fortunate to be supported by a variety of people in choosing my major, and I have four tips on how to best take advantage of the resources around you to minimize stress and maximize satisfaction in making this decision. As a rising Sophomore in college, I am able to relate to the feeling of being overwhelmed by this daunting task, but through my tips I was able to feel more secure with my choice.
1. Take a variety of classes
In college, you have the opportunity to take a variety of courses, both in your interests and outside of them. This allows you to explore your current interests and discover new ones as well. My freshman year I took a psychology class and fell in love with the topics we covered. Now, I want to double major in psychology and anthropology a new interest and an existing one. Also, don’t wait until your senior year to try new courses. I have talked with seniors who regretted waiting until the last minute to step out of their comfort zones, because they found they were really good at and enjoyed the new subject.
2. Use your summer
For some, summer is a much needed break from the busy school year where one can relax. However, summer should also be seen time that can be taken advantage of. The few months are the perfect opportunity to find internships, take classes online, or even take classes at another college or university. Finding a job will grant you experience in the workplace and also add a boost to your resume, and you may realize working is actually a lot different than you imagined. It can help you begin forming an idea of what type of jobs suit you. Taking classes can grant you the opportunity to find new interests in different subject matter.
3. Take advantage of your friends and family
Because choosing a major can be so stressful, we often face this decision alone when we don’t have to. In fact, family and friends may be the key to making the right decision for you. You may realize that someone close to you struggled with the same decision, or majored in something you are considering. They may also have advice of their own which can help lead you in the right direction.
4. Use your College’s Career Office
Once you’re on campus, there are so many resources all around you that are there to help you! I know as a freshman I was intimidated by the career counseling office because I thought I was too young and inexperienced to use it. However, setting up a meeting with the faculty there, was one of the best decisions I had made. You should also look for support in your professors and advisors, as they are there to help you learn and develop your skills and interests.
In the end, as important as choosing a major can be, it is not going to trap you on a path to one particular career. I know lawyers who studied art history, and businessmen that studied linguistics. Though your major should be a decision you put thought into, your life will also not be determined by exactly what major or minor you choose. So have fun exploring your interests!