Written by: Jeffry Jones at 21 Nov 2014
If you are undecided about what to major in, you are not alone. While you don’t have to go into college knowing what you want to do in life right away, it is recommended to choose a major by the end of your freshman year. With so many possibilities at hand, you may feel scattered, and that’s fine. We are here to help and provide you with 10 simple steps to help you decide what you want to major in. You’ll need something to drop ideas into while you’ll be reading this, so grab a pen.
1. Start with deciding what you are good at.
We like to do things we are good at. It improves our self-confidence and gives a boost to our self-esteem. Naturally, you want to dedicate the next 4 years of your life to something that will of course be challenging but still be something you know you can achieve and enjoy doing it. If you can’t decide what you are good at apart from watching TV and playing video games, don’t lose hope just yet. Keep calm and continue to step two.
2. Remember which classes in high school you excelled in, not just enjoyed or liked.
It is one thing to like P.E. and Photography class, but it’s something completely different to get good grades in Math or Physics and tackle some demanding material. While getting a good workout can get you through life, it’s not necessarily what you want to make a living out of. Such tough subjects as Algebra, Biology, Chemistry and others can guide you in the right direction.
3. Think of what else you did in school apart from regular classes.
Which extracurricular activities filled your free time? Was it French club? Drama club? Or maybe you were part of the school IT team? Think about what you are passionate about and what you are ready to put your free time into. They do say that your hobby is the best job you can have, so decide which hobby drives you!
4. Focus on enjoying what you’ll be doing, rather than on how much money you’ll be making.
Sure, we all want to have a nice fat paycheck when we get a job. Believe it or not, but you will not want to be working in a job you hate even if it does pay well. This is something you’ll be working with 5 days a week, 8 hours a day. That’s A LOT of your time. If you hate chocolate, you won’t be able to work with it well, however hard you try. But then again… who hates chocolate anyway?
5. Ask for advice.
There are so many people that know you well, sometimes even better than you know yourself. Ask your parents, family, friends, teachers what they believe you are good at. Are you the go-to-person to get advice about fixing their laptops? Perhaps IT is for you. Apart from the people you already know, there are very useful groups of people you can get to know. They can give you priceless information. Who are they? College advisers have helped hundreds find their passion and set them on their future path. Your college alumni can tell you what it’s like studying for a particular major. Ask around, poke around and get the scoop you need to make a choice. Try finding people who work in the field and ask them about their job and how college prepared them for it. Perhaps they can even suggest a minor that will be an extra boost once you graduate.
6. Try different courses and push yourself.
Don’t slack off with easy courses in your first year. This is your chance to try different fields. Get the courage to take those challenging courses and discover that they are not that bad. You have to keep moving and going further. Taking simple classes you know you’ll be able to pass with flying colors will get you nowhere. Push yourself, move forward and don’t be afraid to jump ahead.
7. Give everything a fair chance.
Just because you didn’t like a subject in high school doesn’t mean college will be the same. This is a whole new playing field. Professors don’t teach the same, homework is done differently, and you study for totally different reasons. Not to mention that actually working in the field will most probably be still not the same as studying it in college. Try to find a new perspective even on the subject you may think you have no interest in at all.
8. Reality check.
It’s nice to be in seventh heaven, but it doesn’t pay the bills. College is expensive, and most cannot afford to spend three years thinking what they want to study. Reality is tough, and you have to make decisions. You have to think about your skills and your abilities. If you know physics is not your thing, you tried and you still firmly believe in this, leave it and try something else. If you want to go into medicine, you don’t have even the whole first year to make a decision. Medical school is tough and long. You might as well start as soon as possible.
9. Don’t panic.
Your first year in college, and already you have to make decisions that your whole life will depend on? Relax and take a deep breath. People change careers up to 5 times during their life, and although their first job may be connected with their major, even that is not always true. Yes, it is important to decide what you want to major in, but if you end up hating it, you still can change and try something new. It’s all in your hands.
10. Keep your minor in mind.
Sometimes we get stuck with not being able to decide which of the two we want to do. We want to do both! I want fries and a hamburger! Um … wrong topic… Yes. If you can’t choose between the two, college comes with the possibility of taking a minor. You can’t live with the idea of forgetting Spanish or you’re in love with dancing? Take a minor. Sure, it will be a little more work, but if you’re really passionate about it and if you really want to do it, you can do it all. After all, we can do everything we set our minds to. Motivation is the most important thing. If you have it, you’re 90% there.