After graduation, we are literally thrown into a whirlwind of HUGE decisions that will basically determine the rest of our lives. The worse part? A couple months ago you had to ASK to go to the bathroom. How can you expect someone to make life changing decisions when they can’t even be trusted to go to the bathroom at the right time? I think this is why most of us struggle when we are asked to choose a major. It can be stressful, confusing and at times horrifying because you are so afraid of choosing the wrong major. To make it a little easier for all of us, I wanted to share my story and some things I’ve learned while choosing a major!
Entering into college I thought I had it all figured out. I loved writing, so of course I should major in Journalism…. right? Wrong. Very wrong. My Intro to Communications class turned me off from journalism in a MAJOR way (no pun intended). After some Googling, I decided I should go into Graphic Design. I was kind of on the right track with this one, but wasn’t quite right. Turns out I can’t draw, and the Graphic Design program requires years of artwork for your portfolio, something I definitely did not have. Going into my Sophomore year I finally “officially” declared Psychology as my major. I figured there was so much I could do with it, and ultimately I wanted to be a Genetic Counselor. Where did that come from? To be honest, it came out of me wanting to find something that made money, that I was somewhat interested in and a major that I could handle.
Over Christmas Break of Sophomore year I was perusing the Internet as usual, checking out my favorite blogs, Pinterest boards and so on. Then it hit me….. I don’t want to sit at a desk and read lab results for the rest of my life. What the heck was I doing?! I had a panic attack, cried my eyes out to my Mom and went on to change my entire class schedule all within one night. Did I mention how impulsive I am?
In the end, I went with Advertising. Similar to my Graphic Design choice but one that allows me to have some creative control even though I am artistically inept. Although I had to keep Psychology as my minor, I am happier when I am learning the ins and outs of advertising. Even though psychology is interesting… I am not passionate at all about it at all. Which leads me to my advice for you…
Choose Something You’re Passionate About
Whether you love animals, shopping or even drinking beer I guarantee there is a major out there that will let you explore your passions. I chose advertising because it allowed me to grow in my passion for design while maintain my love for fashion and shopping. If you love animals, try biology or even zoology! You might be scratching your head right now about the beer one but, Appalachian even has a major called Fermentation Sciences (aka you learn how to brew the perfect beer!) The point is, when you first enter college list out things you love or love to do. Chances are there is a clear pathway you should take!
DON’T Choose Money
Ever heard the saying love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life? Well that rings true. I haven’t entered the workforce yet but I already see it within my coursework. When I’m working on an advertisement, I honestly get lost in the design and planning that I don’t even realize I’ve been working for 3 or 4 hours. My classes seem to FLY by while my psychology classes drag on and on. So don’t chose a major for the money you might make, because if you’re good at what you do then the success and the money will follow.
Peruse Your School’s Major Catalog
Chances are you didn’t even know there was such a major as Fermentation Sciences. Your school could have majors that you didn’t even know existed! Take some time to scroll through your school’s major catalog and jot down which ones interest you. Find Appalachian’s majors here!
Try Out The Classes
Don’t be afraid to take a couple intro classes in that major. You have tons of elective credits, so use them for something beneficial! After taking the intro class for Graphic Design, I knew I wasn’t cut out for the major. However this can also be misleading, because the intro class for Journalism is same intro class for Advertising. I absolutely HATED that class, but I am loving the 2nd and 3rd pre requisites in the major so I believe I’m in the right place.
Don’t Settle, But Don’t Overthink It
If you are completely lost in your pickings, it’s perfectly OK. Keep searching, use your resources that your school offers like Career Counseling and take a week or a month or even a year to find your passions. On the other hand, I think a lot of people over think it. A major is not this binding contract that you MUST use in the future. If you can find a way to apply your major in the slightest way, you’ll have a chance at getting the job you want. You can do so much with any degree, no degree has a set list of jobs you can or can’t do. So don’t worry if you don’t 100% love your major! Just choose something you are interested in a go for it! The way I think of it, a major is simply a launching pad for your true passions.
There is no sure way to know you are choosing a major that is totally right for you. It’s something that you go into blindly and come out hoping you picked the right one. But hopefully with these tips you won’t feel like you’re just reaching into a magic hat and pulling out a major!