How to Find Your Dream Major

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If you’re reaching the end of the year with continued anxiety over your chosen major, it might be time to reconsider. Changing your major can seem overwhelming, but you shouldn’t feel undue pressure over it. The truth is that you’re not out of time to change your mind, even if this is your last semester! You don’t want to live the rest of your life wondering, “What if….?”

However, there is a point to be made that everyone experiences some major doubt over the course of their college career. There might be a few rare people who never waiver, but for everyone else, picking a major isn’t an easy decision. If you’re really considering switching, ask yourself these questions before you do anything drastic (or neglect to do anything at all).

What Makes You Happy?

This might seem like the most obvious question out there, but there’s a reason it’s first. Don’t just consider what things you like — which TV shows, theme park rides, sports, bands, whatever. Those are great but think big picture.

Are you fulfilled by pushing yourself to complete the next puzzle? Consider careers in medicine, government, or even air traffic control.

Maybe you want to see new people and visit exciting places. The United States has 270 embassies that need Foreign Service staff. You could be a pilot or teach English abroad.

There are many things that might make you happy, but ultimately you can narrow it down to the next question.

How Can You Best Achieve That Happiness?

This is where reality kicks in. Maybe you like the idea of solving puzzles for a job, but you can’t imagine going to school for seven years to become a doctor. Maybe you do want to travel, but you can’t learn languages to save your life.

That’s okay; it doesn’t mean that you can’t do what makes you happy just because you lack a skill in one area. Instead, focus more on how you can work in a field that interests you. Take personality tests, visit your school’s career counselor, and research thoroughly. There are definitely dozens of jobs in the field that you’ve never heard of.

And if you really can’t find an existing way to do what you want to do, be an entrepreneur! They represent 10 percent of the workforce, and you’ll be in good company. Getting to set your own hours and be your own boss are pretty powerful perks. Not everyone has what it takes to be an entrepreneur, but if you’re driven enough to get to this point, chances are that you do.

What Will Get Me There?

The last piece of the puzzle is to consider what path you have to take to get your happiness. Sometimes it’s pretty straightforward. Wanna be an engineer? Get an engineering degree. Wanna be a lawyer? Go pre-law, and get your J.D. afterward. In some cases, you might not love your new major, but remember that it’s getting you to a larger goal.

Sometimes, though, it’s less laid out for you. Most jobs have several related degrees. A lot will just care that you have the relevant experience or even just a minor in the field. Some jobs won’t care at all what your degree is in, just that you have one.

You can take some time to ask yourself all these questions, but don’t let them sit on the backburner for too long. Eventually, you’ll have to make a decision. When you do, look up what classes you need to take and get a plan in place. Years down the road, you’ll be glad that you took the time now.

What No One Tells You About Changing Your Major in College

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As someone who’s constantly jumped from one career idea to the next, it’s hard not to feel out of place at a college where it seems like everyone knows their career path. In fact, many people have known for years…or at least have had an idea. I’ve imagined myself in a variety of careers as long as I can remember. Dog groomer, actress, brain surgeon, party planner, lawyer…the list goes on and on. After going to school for a major I hated, I finally made the switch at the end of my freshman semester from journalism to marketing communications. Here are a few things I’ve learned along the way:

1. It’s not as difficult as you think.

Changing your college major can be intimidating. What if I don’t get accepted to my new major? Will I have to transfer schools? Or worse, continue studying a subject I’m not passionate about? These are a few common questions that cross students’ minds when deciding whether or not to change majors. Each college has a different process to change majors, but it’s typically easier than one might think. Plus, there’s always resources such as your academic advisors to assist you.

2. It doesn’t mean you’re going to graduate late. 

While there is a chance you’ll have to stay past your scheduled graduation date to finish your new major, it’s completely possible to graduate on time if you make the change early on in your college career. If you’re unsure of what you’d like to study in college, advanced placement high school classes can be a great way to get ahead and gain college credits before even starting in the fall, serving as a buffer if you eventually decide to change your major.

3. You’re not the only one.

Lots of students change their major every year, and many also come to college undecided. It’s hard to admit that you don’t know what you want to do for a career, especially when you’re actively attending (and paying tuition for!) college. Know that, whether your peers admit it or not, you’re not the only one who’s still figuring everything out.

Are you struggling to choose a major? Have you ever switched paths? Let us know!