College is flooded with opportunities, activities, personal growth, and…majors and minors. With so many programs of study to choose from, it can feel overwhelming, especially if one doesn’t know their path.
I’ve been there. I was on the brink of graduating from high school with no solid idea of what I wanted to major in. But I wanted to enroll in college anyway, with a subconscious motive to discover myself and my talents. All I knew in my youth was that I wanted an administrative job—because being a dancer-slash-talk show host was very impractical at the time. With that in mind, I enrolled in college under “medical office assistant.” Exciting, right?
Halfway during my first semester, I was taking a writing course. We were given writing assignments almost daily, which initially made me groan inwardly. But I quickly realized how naturally I expressed myself through writing. I remember one day I was riding the public transit home and a revelation came to me: “Brittany, you must write. You are creative, insightful, and expressive.” The idea excited me and struck me like lightning. All of a sudden, a medical office program seemed less exciting, so I went and changed my major that same week from medical office assistant to English. I felt such peace, and treasure that decision to this day.
If you’re in high school and bombarded with a seemingly endless list of college majors, try asking yourself these questions:
WHAT ARE MY PASSIONS? Your passions fuel your choices and actions. A good basic question to ask yourself: “Am I more realistic and conventional, or am I more artistic and inventive?” This is one of the best ways to narrow your focus down, even if you have yet to find your passions. If you’re passionate about education, teach. If food is your passion, try a major in nutrition or culinary art. Are you passionate about children? Look into early childhood education or development. What about music? Explore majors such as music or music education. Take your passions and match them with a college major.
WHAT AM I UNDENIABLY GOOD AT? What is something you do without much thought? Ask your peers what they believe you can do better than most. Once you find it, it will be easier to find a college major from there. “What if I’m good at it, but don’t want to do it?” Try the major anyway, to see if it piques your interest. If you still want to do something different, you can always change your major. But just remember you always have your natural talent to fall back on. Who knows, it may eventually become a passion for you!
WHAT CAN I TEACH OTHERS? If there is anything at all, you can teach others in such an effective way that it helps them become just as good as you—take that into consideration! If it’s reading and comprehension, English will be the wisest major to choose. If it’s dancing or theater arts, there’s a major for that! Whatever you think you can teach well, try taking up that major.
WHAT HAVE I ALWAYS WANTED TO DO OR LEARN? This is a self-explanatory question that will instantly help you narrow down your options and pinpoint a major. Even if what you’ve always wanted to learn is outside of your comfort zone or difficult, taking that risk will profit you a great deal.
WHAT DOES MY PAST TEACH ME? Our past can help determine our calling. What is something pivotal or even devastating that has happened to you that you want to dedicate your life to? Perhaps seeing a terminally ill loved one might prompt someone to study nursing or nutrition.
CHOOSING AN “UNDECIDED” MAJOR
As of 2017, 20 to 50 percent of students go into college under an “undecided” major, and 75% of students change their major before graduation. Having an “undecided” major allows students to delve into a well-rounded curriculum of courses and subjects until they find what interests them.
Remember, one of the main purposes of college is to study something you want to know more about. “Major” doesn’t mean “expert,” it means you’re studying to become an expert. It’s okay if someone changes their major more than once, because college is all about finding oneself.