Sunday, April 19, 2015

What they didn't tell me about picking a major

What they didn't tell me is a new series I am kicking off as a result of realizing how clueless I was about this college/adulthood/real life gig I was recently thrown into. It started unintentionally with my post What they didn't tell me about attending a Christian College.. This post was inspired by conversations with students who would soon be attending a college similar to my own. It was from these same conversations that the inspiration for this series was sparked. There are so many lesson I learned the hard way, so many things I stressed about and a whole lost of questions I had with no one to direct them too. Out of that, What they didn't tell me was born!

What they didn't tell me #2: What they didn't tell me about picking a major

There is a short list of decisions I made at 17 which 21 year old me would concur with. The first major I declared would be among those decisions I am no longer on board with. As a senior in high school picking a major seemed so imperative to college success.  Feeling pressure to decide, I picked the first one that remotely had anything to do with my calling. It felt set in stone. Permanent. When my vision for life began to change, I felt trapped and anxious.  As a result my decision to change my major caused so much more stress than it should have. And to think it ended up being one of the best decisions I ever could have made!

Here is what I wish I had known about the scary thing known as "your college major"

#1 Going in undeclared is not going to set you up for failure. 
If you truly have no idea what you want to do but you are sure you want a degree- don't decide! Knock your gen eds out. It's okay not to know. 

#2 Changing your mind is perfectly okay.
We change and develop in every way through our college and young adult years- how can we expect our visions and dreams not morph with us? What we wanted to do as incoming freshman should not be the end all be all to our future. I reserve the right to change my mind as much as necessary, each so called 'wrong choice' in the moment, could end up being a very necessary lesson in hindsight. 

#3 It's a trial and error process.
You may go in hell bent on being a teacher, only to realize after your first field experience that you would rather swallow nails than mold young minds everyday. THATS OKAY. Sometimes people pick a major only to realize they'd rather do ANYTHING else. Better you find out now. 

#4 There's more than one way to skin a cat.
Meaning... There is more than one way to reach your ultimate goal. Children. That's all I knew I wanted to do and that's all I was good at. So I figured teaching, right? Wrong. I don't want to teach but I had no idea what my options were. I did research and found a plethora of options to meet my talents. Don't limit yourself to the obvious, do your homework (literally and figuratively) and take the road less traveled

#4 You are not required to justify your major or career path to anyone (except for maybe you're parents if they're the ones footing the bill)
If you have a less popular, obscure, controversial or difficult major everyone will have an opinion. You will get, "sooooo what can you even do with that?" or "That field is not hiring at all right now." so many times you will want to drop out. It is not your job to make others feel comfortable with your decision. If you are happy and confident that you are in the right place, it does not matter what others think.

What advice would you give to someone deciding on a major? What made you pick your area of study? 


  1. I completely agree with everything you've said. I started at Ohio State in the exploration program, completely undecided. People didn't understand why, but evidently it turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me. There was no way I would have found my current major if I hadn't started out in exploration!

    Colleen | Buckeye Bliss

    1. Thank you for your comment, Colleen! What is the exploration program? I've never heard of that?? It sounds interesting!