Letters

Letters 05-02-2016

Facts About Trails I would like to correct some misinformation provided in Kristi Kates’ article about the Shore-to-Shore Trail in your April 18 issue. The Shore-to-Shore Trail is not the longest continuous trail in the Lower Peninsula. That honor belongs to the North Country Trail (NCT), which stretches for over 400 miles in the Lower Peninsula. In fact, 100 miles of the NCT is within a 30-minute drive of Traverse City, and is maintained by the Grand Traverse Hiking Club...

North Korea Is Bluffing I eagerly read Jack Segal’s columns and attend his lectures whenever possible. However, I think his April 24th column falls into an all too common trap. He casually refers to a nuclear-armed North Korea when there is no proof whatever that North Korea has any such weapons. Sure, they have set off some underground explosions but so what? Tonga could do that. Every nuclear-armed country on Earth has carried out at least one aboveground test, just to prove they could do it if for no other reason. All we have is North Korea’s word for their supposed capabilities, which is no proof at all...

Double Dipping? In Greg Shy’s recent letter, he indicated that his Social Security benefit was being unfairly reduced simply due to the fact that he worked for the government. Somehow I think something is missing here. As I read it this law is only for those who worked for the government and are getting a pension from us generous taxpayers. Now Greg wants his pension and he also wants a full measure of Social Security benefits even though he did not pay into Social Security...

Critical Thinking Needed Our media gives ample coverage to some presidential candidates calling each other a liar and a sleaze bag. While entertaining to some, this certainly should lower one’s respect for either candidate. This race to the bottom comes as no surprise given their lack of respect for the rigors of critical thinking. The world’s esteemed scientists take great steps to preserve the integrity of their findings. Not only are their findings peer reviewed by fellow experts in their specialty, whenever possible the findings are cross-checked by independent studies...

Home · Articles · News · Features · Choosing a major
. . . .

Choosing a major

Robert Downes - August 11th, 2008
Going to college? Then obviously, you’re going to leap some major hurdles. Which school should you attend? Which school will accept you? How will you pay for college? What will dorm life be like? Will you like your fellow students?
But perhaps the greatest challenge of all is deciding on a major. After
all, this is the one decision that is likely to affect your entire life, and it often comes down to making up your mind on the spot in your junior year. Or, at the beginning of a two-year program, if you’ve chosen to specialize in a trade.
Unless you’ve known from childhood what you want to do in life, rest assured, most undergrads get the jitters as their junior year looms, along with the need to pick a major.
Will it be English or economics? Accounting or engineering? Anthro-pology or comparative literature? International affairs or forensic science?

FINDING A DIRECTION
If you haven’t got a clue as to what you want to do in life, relax: being forced to choose a major is probably the best thing that could possibly happen to you during your young adulthood.
Why? Because many people never figure out what they want to do with their lives. They end up working a series of unrelated jobs, heading into their 30s without a clue... and often, without a profession.
That’s why being forced to choose a major is a way to find a direction in life. Suddenly, you’re on a path with a destination in mind.
Ah, but how to choose?
For starters, a good way to choose a major is simply to analyze what you’re good at.
Do you have the gift of gab and excel at public speaking? Then a marketing major may be your ticket.
Have you always been a whiz at math? Then engineering, software design, or the hard sciences are obvious avenues.
Do you love helping people? Nursing and social work come to mind.
In my case, I grew up with a love of books and history, and always loved being the first to know the latest news about my classmates. I also loved photography. These interests made journalism an easy choice for my major in college, along with a minor in photography.

SELF-DISCOVERY
You may not even know that you have a talent until it reveals itself in college.
One friend, for instance, was
uncertain as to what major to choose until he did unexpectedly well on an
accounting test. Although he never
imagined a career in accounting, he chose the subject as
his major and it resulted in a great career.
Then too, sometimes it’s a good idea to pick more than one major in the hope of finding a direction. If your interest in music theory doesn’t pan out, then perhaps your alternative major in Spanish or economics will prove more fruitful. Or, perhaps you’ll find a job that requires a multitude of skills made possible by two majors.
Going with what’s the most popular subject on campus is not always the
best route to success. In the ’80s, for instance, exercise physiology was a popular major that coincided with the running boom. But there weren’t necessarily a lot of great-paying jobs for the grads who piled on.
But still, those grads were
doing what they loved, and there’s
always a measure of wisdom in that
approach. The Chinese phil-osopher Confucius was one of a long list of commentators who noted that if you do what you
love in life, it will never seem like work.
And know this: even with a major under one’s belt and a sure sense of direction, no one knows where life
will take them. I have a friend who majored in zoology and conducted bird surveys on a remote island after graduating; today, he is the administrator of a social work agency, a job which has little or nothing to do with
studying animal behavior. So, think of your major as a starting point, rather than a destination, and enjoy the ride.



 
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