If you are a freshman or sophomore in college going home for Thanksgiving or Winter break, watch out for the big question—What is your major? Choosing a college major feels like a daunting task, as if it will define you and profoundly affect the rest of your life. You may hear a dozen voices going off in your head, your parents telling you to major in something practical and your six-year-old self urging you to follow your dreams. If you don’t have an answer to this question yet, don’t worry. Take time to reflect on what your skills are, what kind of person you are and, above all, what you enjoy.
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I came into college assuming I would be an English major. I’ve always enjoyed reading and writing and anticipated that I’d eventually pursue a career in journalism, so I thought it would be the perfect major for me. After taking a poetry seminar and further examining the requirements of the major, I reconsidered the major I at first had so much confidence in. Now I’m a declared American Studies major. I realized I wanted an interdisciplinary major that would allow me more freedom and creativity.
So what can I do with an American Studies major? Anything. Most college students don’t realize that after graduation they will rarely go into the fields in which they received their degrees. I have known English majors who have gone on to become doctors and physics majors who are now investment bankers. Usually employers value other factors such as GPA and internship experience more than college majors. People who wish to pursue a career that requires a specific knowledge generally acquire this expertise in graduate school.
Choose a college major that allows you to explore what you love and enjoy. You will be spending four years studying this subject at length and this time will be spent much more wisely if you are studying for your own self-enrichment. Education is not just about receiving a degree in something impressive or practical, it ultimately should help you develop as an individual. It is unlikely you will remember the material from your college midterms in twenty years, so choose a major that will allow you to explore something that can inspire personal growth and imbue a deeper knowledge within you. Besides, your grades will be a lot better if you are interested in what you’re learning.
If you’re not yet sure what it is you enjoy studying or what college majors may be available to you, try taking a college major quiz. But don’t stop there. A little soul searching will likely reveal more than a multiple choice test.
Let me know if you agree or disagree with my philosophy about choosing a college major by leaving a comment. I’d love to hear how others feel about the process.