What to consider when Choosing a Major

So you’ve made it through your first year or two of college. The Gen Eds are almost done, and it’s time to declare a major.

There’s only one problem. You have no clue what you want to do with your life.

Maybe it’s because you’re a naturally indecisive person. Perhaps you’ve got it narrowed down to two options, but you just don’t have the money for the amount of classes required for a double major. On the other hand, maybe you can’t see yourself in a traditional 9 to 5 job for eternity.

Or maybe, like me, your interests are so spread across the board that you have no idea where to begin.

First of all, don’t spend all your money on college if you’re doing something for the salary or because of the large job market. By the time you graduate, the market may have closed and the wage rates may drop. Plus, if you hate the job but are doing it just for the pay, you’ll invite a lot of unnecessary stress into your life. Here’s the way to go about making what you love into what you do:

Step 1: Make a list. Even if you hate making lists, make a list. Write down all the things you love to do, all the things that make your day, your week, your life. If it helps, copy an interest list over from your Myspace or LiveJournal or blogtastic bloggity spot of the month. My list came out:

reading
writing
musical theatre
surfin’ the net
cooking
music
history
archeology
anthropology
science
cats

Step 2: Rank every singe thing you’ve written down. Give everything a low, medium or high joy level. Mark each item with stars, numbers, letters, little characterchures of yourself, etc. Once you’ve given everything a rank, take all the top priorities and re-rank them, using the same method. Do it again. And again. And again, until you’ve only got one thing left.

If you end up with a broad topic or two and can’t rank one over the other, make a new list. A detailed, specific list. Since I came down to Writing and History, my second list came out as such:

American History
European History
Medieval History
Short stories
Poems
Creative writing
Writing Genre: Non-fiction

Repeat the whole ranking task, re-ranking each top priority list until you reach your final conclusion. Study what you’re looking at. This is the thing that brings you the most satisfaction. If you can secure a job involving it, you’ll be happy. Your next step is to work out a way to include this joy-gasm of yours into a career. If nothing jumps out at you, talk to your academic advisor about it. While you’re there, check out the career counseling office.

My final, tippity-topmost joy-gasm was “Creative Writing”, and after a good long talk with my Advisor, I went into Advertising. I love it here!