Choosing your major is a daunting task. This decision will likely define your direction in life for years to come. How could you even know where to start at such a novel juncture in your life? And surely there’s no way to know what your school’s programs will entail or what opportunities they will provide. Take a deep breath and consider these tips for choosing the major that will be the most fulfilling and well-suited to you.
1. Examine Your Interests
First, you want to think about every interest you would like to pursue further in life. Make a list and fill it with every little passion that comes to mind even if it seems irrelevant. Small interests such as room decoration or television can blossom into full careers. That interest in decorating rooms could lead to a degree in interior design, and an interest in TV may lead to digital media production. It’s worth keeping your interests in mind whenever you can, especially during applications and college visits.
This way you can look at potential colleges for particular amenities or opportunities to expand your skill set. If TV production is your area of interest, you’ll want to see if they have a corresponding program. Many colleges even have operating studios, some are even award winning and have the newest equipment. Remember, no interest is too small that its possibilities aren’t worth exploring when deciding on your future.
Research Potential Careers
The main goal for many when getting an education is getting a good job. After listing your interests, look into the related job fields. As mentioned earlier, an interest in TV could lead to production. However, you might want to be a film critic, an actor, or an engineer designing new tech. For any job you’re interested in, there are majors that can help you gain necessary skills. Research careers you might enjoy along with corresponding skill and education requirements.
Some jobs will only require a high school diploma, while others will require years of education. You should also decide how much time you want to commit to an area of study. Some fields, such as medicine, are inherently difficult to enter without the ability and time to fund postgraduate education. These strict requirements, however, also lead to shortages and therefore high demand for trained, specialized workers. Each field is different, but it’s worth taking the time to weigh these pros and cons going into them.
Define Your Strengths
You of course know your interests, but it can be harder to parse out your strengths without an outside perspective. Grab a friend or parent and have them help you define the things you’re good at. Your friend might always ask you to study because you’re good at explaining difficult concepts in an easy-to-understand way. This could potentially hint at a career in education. Getting an outside perspective can help you notice and make sense of your biggest strengths.
Your parents might be able to notice personality traits that are well-suited to particular careers. For example, if you’re really great at organizing things around the house, like closets, refrigerators, to-do lists, you might be well-suited for project management. You could look at leadership programs. If they notice you’re great with money, you might consider studying business or accounting. The people around you take notice of your strengths, once you realize those, it can influence your choice when picking a major.
Explore Out-Of-The-Box Classes
Do keep in mind that you may not have found your strength or passion if you haven’t yet encountered it. Instead of only taking classes you think will be productive or comfortable, don’t be afraid to expand into new territory. Take a course on an unfamiliar, yet interesting, subject and you can potentially find a new lifelong passion.
A lot of schools offer courses on interdisciplinary subjects with the goal of applying teachings to real-world considerations. For example, you may find a class centered around Marvel movies that aims to examine the art of multi-film storylines. You could also come across classes that integrate seemingly opposite topics, like art and its role in the stock market. No matter how offbeat the topic seems, it could be the perfect combo for your interests to thrive.
Don’t Stress Yourself Out Too Much
Ultimately, you don’t need to choose your major right out of the gate, and you shouldn’t force it. You have time to figure out your path once you begin college. Just make sure you put the time into that exploration and make the most of your studies in the meantime. And be open to novel academic experiences that are outside of your comfort zone or current studies.
And make sure that your major is something you can truly get behind and find your heart in. It can be really difficult to go along with a topic you don’t enjoy and you deserve to be happy. And finally, always remember that if you make a choice that doesn’t work out, you can change it.
You’re going to college for the sake of your future, but future happiness is not just financial security. It’s also good mental health, being content with your life choices, and making the most of your circumstances. This isn’t all guaranteed, but you should take all of these things into consideration when making such a choice. Think about who you are now and who you aim to become in the future.