“What do you want to be when you grow up?” Everyone is asked this question as a kid, and the majority always have an answer: “An astronaut! A teacher! A doctor!” But as you grow older, your answers tend to change from the fantasies you have as a child to the realities of life’s experiences. For those lucky few, your childhood dreams stick with you. You go to school, get your degree and acquire a fulfilling career that you wanted all along. For the rest of us, we find ourselves a bit confused and undecided come graduation time. So what’s the best course for picking a major when the time comes to apply to college?
This is a hard question to answer, since every person and each experience in the collegiate world is unique. However, I’ve found that a good portion of college students have a very similar answer: start taking classes and doing research. When you first enter the wonderful world of college, your first step is to complete your general education requirements. Which are basically an array of classes, usually equating to about 60 units, that cover the basics of the usual suspects of subjects from English to Math, with a few electives thrown in the mix. Taking these classes gives you a good starting point on figuring out what subjects interest you.
Are you finding yourself in love with all things science? Or does the thought of the Pythagorean Theorum get your heart racing? If so, then you are probably going to be able to research careers in the areas that interest you pretty quickly, either by extensive internet research and/or meeting with a career counselor on campus. But what happens if you don’t find yourself dreaming of the great works of Shakespeare? Well, then the basic classes are probably not where you want to start picking a major.
The next step is to start taking some elective courses. These are the classes that are not required for your GE completion, but that are good places to start experiencing some additional possible areas of interest. What did you like to do in high school? Did you have a family member or friend that had a job you loved hearing about? These are good questions to ask yourself when you are looking at elective courses. They can give you a general subject area to start looking at when signing up for your semester.
Once you find an area that interests you, try taking a couple of additional classes on the subject. Does it still interest you? Could you see yourself doing a career in this area? Then you more than likely just found your major. If after taking all of your classes and electives you are still uncertain where you want to go with your college career, try enlisting the readily available help of movies and books. There are any number of careers portrayed on film and on print. You never know, your favorite movie of all time might just give you the inspiration for your major.