Archive for the ‘Majors & Minors’ Category
There are a lot of things to think about when you’re choosing a major and thinking about your future job. Here are just a few of them:
What Am I Good At?
Let’s start simple. What are you skilled at? Cooking? Writing? Making people feel comfortable in your presence? Determine where your skills are at and think of the ways you could turn those talents into a major or career.
What Do I Like?
Picking an engineering major just because you’re good at math and science won’t do you any good if those subjects make you miserable. You need to find your major and career path at least somewhat interesting and enjoyable. Choose something you won’t get bored with or be miserable doing.
Figure out what you like, but take a second look and make sure it’s realistic. Most of us will never become professional football players or actors, so what we love most won’t necessarily translate directly into a job after college. Instead, take your interest and figure out how to make it work with your degree and career. That means considering a career in personal training or sports broadcasting if you love athletics, or looking into teaching drama if your dream is to be a Broadway star. Some people do achieve their ultimate goals, but it’s important to have a backup plan just in case things don’t work out.
Help! I Still Have No Idea What to Do
That’s all right! It’s not always clear what your career path should be. While you’re thinking on it, take our Careers and Majors quiz to help you narrow down your options and give you some new choices to think about.
Some students enter college with a clear idea of what they want to major in while others take more time to figure it out. It’s not uncommon for students to cycle through more than three majors during their time in college – this is totally normal. After all, how are 18-year-olds expected to know with certainty they want to be an accountant, or a nurse, or a writer? If you have the nagging feeling something isn’t quite right, don’t ignore your gut. Look for these six signs that your major might not be for you.
1. You’re struggling in your major classes
If your major-required classes are a constant struggle, you should probably reconsider your commitment to that line of study. This can mean something as serious as failing courses to something as inconspicuous as feeling stressed all the time or needing help with every assignment. Not every course will be easy, of course, but if you’re chronically tired and feel overworked – mentally or physically – consider looking into other paths of study.
Not sure which major is right for you? Check out our quiz to find out!
2. Your major classes bore you
Do your major requirements generally seem uninteresting? Are you bored in the class itself or by assignments and projects? Classes aren’t designed to entertain you, but ideally you should enjoy some of the topics covered in the classes required for your major. If you’re a freshman and just starting to take introductory courses, read the descriptions of more advanced-level courses, which are always more specialized. Do those seem like classes you’d want to take eventually? If not, you may want to research other majors.
3. You’re more interested in unrelated classes or extracurricular activities
Similarly, do you find yourself more interested in your elective classes than those for your major? Noticing this about yourself can help point you toward a more fulfilling major. Oftentimes, students write off potential majors because they don’t realize their extracurricular interests can be part of their academic study. For example, if you’re passionate about art, consider a major (or even double major) in art history or studio art. If you’ve fallen in love with writing, look into potential paths in business or journalism. Make an appointment with your career center or academic advisor to gain some insight about your options.
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4. Potential careers in the field don’t seem appealing
Do some research on potential careers in your field of study. Hopefully, one or more will appeal to you. Ask your professors or counselors what a future career in a particular industry might look like, and inquire about opportunities for job shadowing. This is a great opportunity to observe the reality of your chosen major. If you can’t picture yourself working in your current field – whether it seems uninteresting, overwhelming, or too stressful – your major may not be the best choice for you.
5. You chose your major because others thought you should
Students choose majors for a variety of reasons, many of which are completely valid. However, if you’ve chosen your major because your parents wanted you to, your friends are all doing it, or because you were only looking to make money after graduation, you may have set yourself up for disappointment. If this is the case, it’s a good idea to reconsider your major. Do some online research; ask older friends who seem confident in and passionate about their field of study, or try a new class about an unfamiliar subject.
6. You’re not excited to talk about it
The last sign your major may not be for you is if you’re not excited to talk about it with others. If you find yourself deflective when others bring up your classes, it may be because you are avoiding your true feelings – that your major does not hold enough interest to carry you through schooling and then into your career.
Whether you’re an underclassman or an upperclassman, it’s not too late to change your major. You might be able to finish within the standard four years, or you may want to extend your time in college to finish requirements, but this is normal. Your counselor can help you plot out a different course of action and ensure your major is right for you.
Lisa Low is a contributing writer for Varsity Tutors, a live learning platform that connects students with personalized instruction to accelerate academic achievement.
Being an official “grown up” seems awfully far away – especially when you still have another seven-and-a-half years until college graduation. But you’ll soon learn that time has a way of passing pretty quickly. That’s why it’s important to start thinking about it now.
If you haven’t already, start by taking our Careers and Majors quiz. This quick personality assessment pulls up a list of which college degrees and career paths fit your interests and skills. It’s easy – and best of all, it’s pretty fun.
Once you have your results, run through the list to see what appeals to you. Maybe you have no interest in pharmacy but are fascinated by the software developer option. That’s fine! Ask your parents if they know anyone in any of the fields that interest you. You may have a family friend or relative who’s active in the industry who can answer some questions for you.
If you’re really close with someone who has a job you’d love, see if it’s possible to tag along when they head to work one day. Shadowing a real-life engineer, accountant, or nurse is really helpful when you’re not sure which career path to take. Just remember to choose a day you’re off school so you don’t miss anything important in class!
Here’s a list of questions you can ask when you’re shadowing someone on the job:
- Can you give me a rundown of everything you do throughout the day?
- What’s your favorite part of your job? What do you like the least?
- How did you get into the field?
- How do you see your industry changing within the next 10 years?
- What college did you attend? What did you study while there?
- Is there anything you recommend I do now if I’m really interested in this career path?
Take notes while you’re there, but don’t forget to enjoy yourself too!
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