With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, love and dating and romantic gestures may be at the forefront of your mind. Or, if you’re anything like me and don’t understand the point of Valentine’s Day, the last thing on your mind. Whichever way, it’s also that time of the semester when people start to really freak out about the fact that they’re still undecided.
By this time in the academic year, freshmen may start to feel really pressured to have a major chosen, ready to go, and be knee-deep in 300-level classes for their discipline of choice. For undeclared sophomores, the fear of making a decision may really be kicking in.
For many students, myself included, there’s a lot of pressure associated with choosing a major, but that pressure doesn’t just come from the timeline that you have to make a decision. You may feel pressure from your parents to go to medical school because they’ve always had that dream for you; there’s pressure from your peers who may all already have the next ten years planned out; there’s pressure from thinking about your future and feeling like you need to choose something practical; and of course there’s pressure from yourself with every possible concern you could possibly have.
Freshman year, I was very concerned with my GPA and I wanted to major in something that I knew I could academically excel in. I wanted all A’s, so choosing classes that I could do well in easily was a factor that I considered. But, the classes that I was getting easy A’s in weren’t the most rewarding classes – the classes I enjoyed the most were the ones that I was challenged in. I also thought that I enjoyed having the answer to everything, but I realized that I actually like not having the answers and having to work to get them. So, I ended up majoring in Literature and Gender Studies – two majors that require a lot of acceptance of subjectivity.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that there are about a million different things that are going to lead you to choose your major. But ultimately, there are a few guiding principles that you can follow in order to choose the major that best fits you.
Think about the classes that you never want to stop taking.
Is there a certain discipline of classes that you just don’t want to go a semester without? That’s usually a pretty good indicator that you should totally major in it. You’re probably on the route to majoring in it already.
Or, if there isn’t a specific discipline, but there seems to be a common theme – let’s say you’ve taken PHIL 241: Bioethics and now PSYC 320: Women and Mental Health is just calling your name, maybe an interdisciplinary major is the right route for you (Public Health, perhaps?).
Forget the question of “What am I going to do with this?”
Let’s be serious here for a second – there wouldn’t be “useless” majors if they were actually useless. There’s a purpose to every major, and it’s that there are people who want to study it, and employers who want people who’ve studied it.
And sure, maybe you’re thinking “I’d really like to end up working at a big corporate business, but Studio Art classes are the only ones I like,” but you’d be surprised at how little employers care about what your major is. They’re not going to look at the topic that you studied, they’re going to be looking at other things – the clubs you were in, the internships you had, your dedication to the animal shelter you’ve been volunteering at, and all the wonderful skills you’ve learned in everything that you’ve done.
Even Forbes agrees with us (but it seems like whoever wrote the article had an advisor with a slightly different philosophy than us *wink*).
Connect with professors.
Professors are the best. They’re great little sources of information, they’ve done amazing work, they’ve probably been in their field of study for longer than you’ve been on this earth, and they definitely love what they do if they were willing to dedicate their lives to the study.
Passion for learning is contagious. If you’re interested in a topic and you think that really all you might need is a little convincing, then talking to some professors is going to be both rewarding and inspiring.
Take classes with professors that you like.
And on that note, the professor makes the class – literally. If you’ve really enjoyed a certain professor’s teaching style, don’t be afraid to keep taking classes with them, even if you don’t think you’ll love the topic. I once took an 18th Century literature course just because I loved the professor, and I fell in love with 18th Century literature – which, by the way, I totally hated before taking the class.
And on the flip side, if you don’t particularly like a professor, don’t take classes with them if you can avoid it. College is your time to be totally selfish and put your happiness first. I wish I realized this earlier on – there would have been a lot more classes that I wouldn’t have dreaded going to if I had.
Come to the Major Dating Game!
The CAS Peer Advisors are hosting the Major Dating Game on Thursday, February 11 from 7 – 8 pm in MGC 2. It’s going to be like the dating game, but for people who don’t know what they want to major in. Take a chance at ~falling in love~ and come by to hear professors try to convince you to choose their discipline.