Often, picking a major can seem daunting. You’re straight out of high school, 18 years old and you’re expected to choose what path you want in life despite barely having experienced it yet. But you need to make sure you make the right decision.
Even at 22 years old, I feel like I could only make a marginally better choice now than when I was 18. For this reason, many students end up taking on a career path that their parents want, because it’s the only route they have any knowledge about. It’s the safe pick.
Okay, so what should you do then? First, figure out your financial situation. If your family is well off, then you have the freedom to take more time experimenting. If that’s not the case for you, try and minimize your debt as much as possible by finishing quickly. Plan out your credits with your advisers regularly to make sure you are on track.
If you’re scared to commit to your major because it may not be ideal, then there is good news for you. According to a 2010 survey by the U.S Census Bureau, only 27 percent of graduates end up working in a job related to their college degree. Combine that with the fact that most graduate schools have options to have your entire tuition paid off and you can rest assured that you will not be limited by your bachelor’s.
Have a plan! If you want to major in history, that’s fine, really. But what will you do to support yourself afterwards? Are you going to teach or go on to get a PhD? Don’t just assume everything is going to work out in the end. Do your research and talk with people who have been there before, because you can gain great wisdom just through casual conversations.
Make sure to get involved on campus. They are a great way to get insights into other careers without having to take the intro class. I, myself, realized that I had a passion for teaching through my work tutoring in Upward Bound and mentoring in Eastern Opportunity. That same epiphany is waiting for you out there somewhere and you sure aren’t going to find it by watching YouTube all day.
Remember—an amazing job is not going to fall out of the sky for you. You have to go out and get it.