"Major" Decision Making is Always Hard

"Major" Decision Making is Always Hard

Many freshmen attending college this coming fall will probably have the same questions on their mind – “Where are the parties?” “How do I make friends?” – and most importantly, “What should I major in?” Choosing a major defines how your college experience will go, and is therefore a huge decision.  
For some, deciding on a major is easy. Others may not know what they want to do, and are constantly asked the question “What do you want to do?”  
It isn’t uncommon for students to forget about this burden for their first year. However, when the second year of college comes around, the weight of the issue is doubled, as your advisor breathes down your neck and tries to help you figure out your junior year classes. Influences, including parents who are encouraging business or pre-law courses and friends who are recommending psychology, will bear down on you to try to help you decide.  
Everyone in college wants two things: to graduate and to do what they like. In other words, they want to find their passion in life. The stories told by professors or speakers about finding a passion and doing what makes them happy can leave a strong impression, and even imply that finding a passion is simple. In reality, it’s nearly impossible unless you are one of the lucky people who knew what they wanted to do as a kid, and still felt the same as an adult. Odds are, you are going to have to search to find that passion.  
 
Think About It  
While the pressure of choosing a major is heavy, it is important to try and keep a level head about it. Parents and friends may have found out what they want to do; however, that should not mean that you have to follow in their footsteps. You are your own person, and should follow your own path. 
What is important is what you want to do, not what society, friends, family, teachers, or anyone else wants. By doing research and paying attention to your own interests, you will be able to make your own decisions.  
 
Test the Waters 
The best thing that you can do to figure out what you like is to simply try everything. Of course, don’t literally take every kind of class – just try the ones that you think might be worthwhile or interesting. If you have to declare a major to take a class, go ahead. 
According to Inside Higher Ed, as many as 80 percent of students will switch majors at one point during their time in college. However, this only works so well. Classes do still cost money, and it isn’t cost-effective to take a bunch of classes in a major you won’t follow through with. To circumvent this, it might be more efficient to speak to professors in the field you are interested in. If they really sell you on the class or topic, go for it, but be prepared to leave if it isn’t necessary. Don’t stay in a class you won’t enjoy if it isn’t needed; make good use of the add-drop period in the beginning of the semester.  
While choosing a major that you will spend the next couple years focusing on may seem daunting, there is no point in sticking with a major you don’t enjoy, so change to something else! While a focus on a field is important for getting a job after graduation, there are resources on campus, including the Office of Career Services, who can help. Doing personal resource is also beneficial in understanding what major might fit you. Certain websites can also provide important and worthwhile advice.  
When it comes down to it, though, you could actually never declare a major. According to Best Choice School it is possible to graduate without declaring a major. You will instead graduate with a liberal arts degree. However, the site does recommend declaring a major, especially by junior year. 
In conclusion, don’t worry if you can’t figure everything out quickly. Take your time and see what you like. You can try searching for the elusive “passion,” but it’ll find you when you do what you like. Your college or university is there to help and provides resources like Career Services and professor advisers if you’re having a hard time. Talk to those around you and listen to their advice but don’t let them influence you.  
 
Featured image taken from The Odyssey Online. 

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