The thought of it makes you cringe with tension. Every time someone
asks, "Whats your major?" it seems as if another
ten bricks have been added onto your shoulders. You find yourself
asking, "Why am I forced to make such an important decision
at such a young age?" Picking a major is one of the most difficult
and frightening decisions a college student can face. But is all
the pressure we put on ourselves really necessary? In this business-oriented
world, weve come to believe that a major is related more to
a career than to ourselves. For those of us who dont have
definite career paths planned out, the best advice to this "major"
dilemma is simply to take a deep breath, look inside yourself, and
discover your passions and natural talents.
Biology. I wanted to be a pediatrician since I was six years old.
It was my dream. Well, thats until I took high school chemistry
my junior year and quickly realized that bio wasnt for me.
For the first time in my life, I was lost and it scared me. I began
researching numerous career fields to no avail. I knew what I enjoyed
doingI loved to write. English was my favorite subject, but
I was warned by people close to me that choosing it as a major would
only lead me back into the classroom as a teacher. At that time,
teaching at the high school level did not appeal to me.
So I finally decided that I would enter college as a dreaded undeclared
major. I took all general education classes my first semester and
swore I would never be one of those people who changed their major
five times (the average amount for college students today). I still
enjoyed my English classes far more than any other subject. I loved
to write, but I let others tell me that becoming a professional
writer was near impossible. So I accepted the fact that writing
was more of a hobby than a career.
During the summer between my freshman and sophomore years, I felt
the pressure to declare building. Every night, I diligently went
over the numerous descriptions of majors in my school catalog. I
decided the most logical thing would be for me to declare Liberal
Studies as my major. The practical side of me had taken over. Although
some Liberal Studies programs are designed for teacher preparation
at the elementary level, I saw it as a broad major that would apply
to any field I wanted to work in. I went ahead and declared during
the summer and began taking Liberal Studies courses in the fall.
In those classes, I felt like I did not fit in. Most of my classmates
were sold on careers as elementary school teachers. They looked
forward to class presentations and "fun" math projects
while I sunk lower in my seat. I found myself becoming more and
more unhappy with school. I was bitter that subjects I honestly
did not care about consumed my limited time. All I looked forward
to was the ten minutes right before bed when I could write in my
As obvious as it seems, the answer to my "major" dilemma
did not come until I found happiness in a creative internship. I
worked for an entertainment company in Hollywood where I was constantly
surrounded by people making a living off their creativity and flare
for fun. When I realized that a lot of employees in the company,
from administrative assistants to head writers, had majored in English,
the tunnel did not seem so dark. Possibilities started to light
up my bleak career outlook. As I searched through my college catalogue,
I browsed over English course descriptions and smiled as I finally
understood; I could spend my time writing for fun and also get credit
I immediately dropped Liberal Studies and began taking English
courses in the spring. As I was sitting in class one day listening
to my professor talk about the importance of being creative in all
types of writing, an incredible sense of contentment came over me.
I was finally where I was supposed to be.
The moral of the storylook inside yourself. Dont deny
what your heart is telling you. Block out what others think is best
for you and focus inward. If you need more time to decide, take
it. Being an undeclared student is smarter than declaring one major,
taking courses, and realizing it isnt what you want to do.
Save yourself the stress and the useless units by making time for
some soul searching. Lastly, dont worry about being able to
make a living after graduation. If you focus on what you really
love and are interested in, if you perfect your skill and find happiness,
the money will follow. Employers in every field are looking for
people who are passionate about their work. The major you choose
will not end up making or breaking your life. But taking the time
to discover who you are and who want to be is the first step in
building a fulfilling future.
for more information on Carla Furry,
the writer of this article.