Choosing a major can be a really difficult decision. In fact, most college students change their major at least once over the course of their time in college. (If you’re anything like me, it will be at least four times, with considerations for minors in between.)
Oftentimes, the decision is so difficult because we have conflicted interests or reasoning. You might want to major in something that you know nothing about, but worry that you won’t do anything with it after college. You might be majoring in something that your parents or teachers in high school said you would be good at, but you can’t stand the classes you’re in. What’s important to realize is that your major is ultimately a decision that you make for yourself.
Can I do this for four years?
Right now, don’t stress out too much about your career. If you thought your major was going to change a lot throughout your four years of college, just wait until you get out into the Real World, where the question of “what do you want to do for the rest of your life?” has a constantly changing answer. What’s important to focus on is your interest in the subject.
Do I get excited about the classes I’m taking?
You’re not going to fall in love with every class that you take. There are going to be classes within your department that were much different than you expected them to be, too challenging, not challenging enough, or not as exciting as you thought they would be. But getting excited for a certain set of classes is usually a good indicator that this might be a discipline you should consider as a major.
What will I gain from this degree?
Majoring in biology doesn’t mean for sure that you’ll end up in medical school. Majoring in political science doesn’t mean you’ll end up working in government. But within each major, you will end up gaining a skill set that you might not have thought about. The research skills that you gain in biology will be different from the critical thinking you’ll gain in political science.
Consider what skills you want to gain from your major, not where you want it to take you.
What do other people say about the department?
Talk with professors that you’ve had, talk with the head of the department, talk with peers that love what they study and peers that hate what they study. Get to know the department and how it operates. A literature degree at AU may not be the same as a literature degree at another school.
Do I love this subject?
This is the most important question to ask yourself when you’re choosing something to spend the next three or four years dedicating your time to. You wouldn’t keep watching a television show if you didn’t like it, why should you continue studying something you don’t absolutely love?