Letters

Letters 8-18-2014

The Climate Clarified

Climate change isn’t an easy subject. A class I’m taking compared it to medicine in a way that was helpful for me: Climate scientists are like planetary physicians. Our understanding of medicine is incomplete, but what we know is useful...

Beware Non-Locally Grown

The article “Farm Fresh?” couldn’t be any more true than exactly stated. As an avid shopper at the local farm markets I want to know “exactly” what I am buying, from GMO free to organic or not organic, sprayed or not sprayed and with what...

Media Bias Must End

I wish to thank Joel Weberman for his letter “Seeking Balanced Israel Coverage.” The pro-Palestinian bias includes TV news coverage...

Proud of My President

The world is a mess. According to many conservative voices, it would not be in such a mess if Obama was not the president. I am finally understanding that the problem with our president is that he is too thoughtful, too rational, too realistic, too inclined to see things differently and change his mind, too compassionate to be the leader of a free world...

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.



 
  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
 
 

 

 
 
 
Close
Close
Close