If you happened to catch a few minutes of the evening news in your residence hall lobby, or overheard recent unemployment statistics at breakfast one morning, you might be questioning your college major. For those of us who have chosen to follow our passions for the arts or humanities, that questioning may have turned into full blown panic. Is this field going to be realistic when I graduate? Will I be able to find a job? Should I change my major to something in demand? Should I add another degree? Am I just wasting my time and money here?
The thought of not being able to find a job after graduation is something that haunts college students, especially those who are about to graduate this spring. But before you do anything crazy, consider the following:
Don’t let the news scare you: You’ve wanted to be a music teacher since you were nine years old. You can play six instruments, have been the star of every musical in high school, and are about to graduate college with high honors. Don’t throw that away for a science degree because the news is showing budget cuts to the arts. If you’ve spent years working toward a career, don’t abandon it over a few months of scary unemployment stories.
Think outside the box: College students often make the mistake of assuming what they major in is what they learn. Psych majors learn how to be psychologists and education majors learn how to educate. Defining what you learn by the title of your major is limiting. Instead, think about the courses you’re taking and what skills you’re gaining from those courses. What does your college major require you to know and be good at? It’s these skills and abilities that will someday get you a job.
Become your very best: Despite what the statistics and news stories may indicate, there are jobs out there for everyone in every major. They’re just harder to get than before. You can improve your chances by becoming your very best when it comes to your field of study. Instead of coasting through your classes until you get your degree, take the extra time to master concepts you know your classmates have problems with. Spend a few extra hours in lab. Save your notebooks from previous classes, and browse through them once in a while. Read extra material on your field of study that hasn’t been assigned to you. By taking the drivers seat when it comes to your passion and your education, you’re going to know more and you’re going to do better.
A degree is never useless: There are many people who find themselves incredibly happy in careers where they didn’t necessarily earn their degree, because the skills they learned to get the degree took them there. In addition, some entry level jobs only require that you have a bachelors degree without considering the subject in which it’s in. Despite what you’ve majored in, having a degree will always make you more marketable than not having it.
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