Choosing the right major can save you time, money, and your sanity. It sounds funny. How can choosing the right major save your sanity? Imagine the urgency at which you will want to establish yourself in the world after graduation. Now imagine heading to the career you established one morning feeling completely lost in a world that doesn’t seem to need or want you. You’ll suffer.
Deciding one, five, or ten years into a career that you really don’t like this field can be tragic on your mental health, on marriage, relationships, and on your entire well-being. It happens to lawyers, to emergency room doctors, to engineers, and to every type of professional every day. They realize too late that they have chosen poorly for themselves.
There are two ways to select a major that will satisfy you. And there are two places to look for help. And while parents or guardians might be the traditional source for funding and advice, they can-not always-be an unproductive resource.
Don’t choose law until you’ve spent time in a law office. Don’t apply for medical school until you’ve spent time in a hospital. Don’t think that becoming a doctor or lawyer is the only way to succeed in life. In fact, you might find that lawyers nauseate you or that everytime you enter a hospital, you get a headache. This is not psycho-somatic mumbo-jumbo, this is reality. Better pay attention to these things.
Know thyself. Now we’ll talk about the two ways to choose a major. The first is to choose a major based on marketability. Students will ask whether their degree is going to be something they can sell after graduation. And in this category of students are those that believe that following in the family’s footsteps is a plausible marketability. Well, for some, thinking like this could lead to a heart attack by the time they’re 35. That’s reality.
The problem with thinking like this is that some people get side-tracked into thinking like their mother, father, sister or brother instead of themselves. That’s when questioning a degree’s marketability becomes a train wreck a few years after graduation.
All degrees are marketable. English, art, math, music, criminal justice, microbiology, journalism, are all marketable. So here’s a second approach. Take the time to study your passion. The time spent in college will be most productive if you can’t wait to wake up in the morning. And besides, how many people actually end working in the field they graduated in. You’re going to want to take your passion and knowledge with you into any field you end up in. This is the kind of knowledge that is power.
Here’s the two places to get sound advice. You know yourself well. But you might have difficulty admitting that there are some things that you can’t do or won’t do. You tell yourself that you can do anything you set your mind to. Listen to youself, yes, but then find a friend. Usually a professor who has seen you in action. A professor or teacher that recognizes something in you is the person recognizing your truest potentials. Their professional advice is priceless.
So many people are chasing after technology-colored dollars when what the world really wants from them is their musical ability or their psychological insight.
Those interested in a career in healthcare. There are over 300 different career choices. Not everyone needs to be a doctor or a dentist. If you want to have a family some day, or if you want time for charity or for a hobby, investigate all of your options in healthcare before settling on one. You sure don’t want to find out a year-and-a-half into med school that you’d rather be an orthodontist. The hardest part might be convincing yourself that being an orthodontist is a good thing!
If you’re undecided, take the first two years to explore and watch how students and teachers react to you. They will cue you in to what you excel at and where your true sensibilites lie.
And remember; once you’ve decided what you’d like to major in, you can change your mind. But stay the course for at least two semesters: no path towards real progress is without its little hiccups along the way.