- Enjoyment, Satisfaction, and Meaning
I shall cover the obvious and most commonly given advice first, although its popularity does not lessen its truthfulness. While one can impose pressure on themselves to pick a major solely based on what will incur the highest possible income, it is essential to remember that if you loathe your coursework and major, you will not excel.
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- Careers, the Job Market, Asking Professionals Life is Lady Justice, weighing both enjoyment and career outlook. While I will maintain that we should incessantly consider satisfaction and enjoyability, I also believe that career outlook is a vital consideration. No college student knows what career they will pursue with the rest of their lifetime but having a career goal or some possible goals in mind can not only help a student decide on a major; it can also be a superb motivator. It is ideal to choose a major that can help you when pursuing your desired career path, although it took me a long time to realize that is not as limiting as I imagined it to be. Pursuing a major which trains us to think critically, communicate clearly, analyze narratives, and never miss deadlines—such as history or English—can be marvelous preparation for numerous careers requiring those skills, such as careers in business, medicine, law, or education. STEM majors can be excellent preparation for careers in medicine, law (specifically IP law), or education, in addition to the directly associated scientific and mathematical careers. An important factor to look at is the job market’s expected growth for specific career areas, as reported by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics. Another act that I have found beneficial and enjoyable is talking with professionals in the same or similar career fields that you are considering. Those discussions may be your best resource for learning what that career is truly like. Even if you do not know anyone to ask or would like to ask more professionals, I am sure your college’s career center advisors, major advisors, or even some of your professors would be happy to chat with you.
- (Obviously Infallible) “What Should I Major In?” Quizzes When all else fails, take a “What Should I Major In?” quiz! (I will award bonus points if you can find a college majors quiz that does not require you to give at least your name and email address to access the results you spent ten minutes answering questions to see.) My favorite quiz is offered from U.S. News, perhaps because it is the most official looking. When I took their quiz, U.S. News admonished me to pursue history as a major, which is one of the numerous fields that I am considering, so I suppose it is a somewhat reliable giver-of-ideas. While this is last on my list because an online quiz cannot know you better than yourself or the labor force better than itself, these quizzes can be fun to take and can offer ideas that may not have otherwise manifested in your mind. Regardless of what or when you choose, please remember: • Your chosen major does not chain you to one specific career field. Think of your degree as opening the doors to multiple opportunities. There are often many ways to “slant” the key skills you have acquired in your major to most aptly fit the career for which you are applying. • With other students declaring in their first year, there can be pressure to declare. Do not succumb. There is no rush to declare your major. I say it is better to declare your major later, not change it afterwards, and enjoy the remainder of your college career as you take advanced classes that count towards your major than it is to declare early, end up full of regret, and change it thereafter. • kLastly, do not let career goals distress you. Mentally declaring a goal does not commit you to any career. You are free to pursue the major and career that you want, and in your freedom, you are bound to lose yourself to numerous ideas and possibilities. Wherever you land, ensure that you can have a life there.
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