Major Decisions: Taking the “Un” Out of Undecided

What do I want to do with my life?!

When you first arrive on your university’s campus at the ripe age of 18, the world is your oyster. You have yet to begin your four years of college education, which have a heavy hand in shaping your future. To quote Remember Me, you are most likely undecided… about everything.

Mapping your own personal life-path begins with choosing your major. Although this is the first, it can also be the most difficult step. The vast amount of choices you are given can be overwhelming. What if you pick the wrong major and because of that one mistake your life turns out horribly miserable?

Don’t worry, I doubt such a terrifying outcome will occur. Plus, you can always switch majors mid-way through college. But, if you plan on graduating on time, it helps to have an idea of the educational direction you want to go in, what sorts of classes you want to take, and a vague sense of possible careers post-tossing your academic hat in the air.

Since specific advice varies for every individual (and that’s what academic advisors are for), here are a few general themes to keep in mind when declaring your major.

What Are You Good At
This is simple. People enjoy being successful. If you currently find advanced calculus intellectually stimulating and exciting, but find yourself spending hours solving simple problems, you will most likely regret declaring a math major halfway into your semester. Use your talents to your advantage; not only does this make your classes easier, but it also makes you happier. It’s definitely important to continue to challenge yourself, but don’t burden yourself with an unrealistic course load.

What Are You Interested In
This is a step further than simply being skillful in some field. If you excel in Econ, do you prefer it’s role in politics or perhaps simply analyzing the theory aspect? Maybe you want to study it on the international scale. Either way, you need to pick a specific route based on your own personal interests. This will make your classes, and the post-grad life they lead you to, 10 times more enjoyable.

What Are the Major’s Requirements
Although I’m not positive how it works at other schools, we are required to complete certain required classes in conjunction with our major at Georgetown. Some majors have a ton of necessary credits, some have relatively few. Take a look at the types of classes you’ll be required to take and be sure none of them absolutely disgust/frighten you before signing on to that major.

What Classes Catch Your Eye
On the other hand, check out the awesome class opportunities that your field of interest offers. If you see a few courses that you absolutely have to take, chances are you’ve found your major.

What Do You Want to Do When You Graduate
Note: not
what your parents want you to do.
This can be the toughest aspect of choosing a major for many students. Parental influence, both mental and financial, can greatly impact your decision in picking out your college curricula. Ignore them. Seriously. If declare something half-heartedly because your dad thinks it would be best for your future, you will most likely end up miserable and full of regret. Go with your gut feeling and don’t be afraid to stick up for your career dreams, no matter what you’re parents say. They’ll support your decision…eventually.

Do you have any advice for freshmen and sophomores about to declare their major? Share it in the comment section below!

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