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Choosing your major is probably one of the most stressful processes of being in college. I mean what's more important than deciding what you'll spend four to five years of your life studying? Some people know right away and other get a little stuck, so here are some tips that I used in deciding what major was right for me.
1. Have fun with your general electives!
Yes I know... who cares about biology when you want to major in math? Well, the point is that you might find out that YOU care! Don't let your experiences affect the way you perceive a particular subject. Give it a try and a clean state! These classes are meant to assess and narrow down your interests. Just because you like engineering, and you're positive that's what you want to major in, doesn't mean you won't also love sociology or gender studies. Don't limit yourself in a place you're meant to explore.
2. Attend workshops!
Your school offers them, trust me! You know those emails from school you always blow off and delete? Well, try reading them once in while. They actually contain important information that you might be interested in. Check with your career center and see what expos or events they have coming up. They're free, and I don't know about you, but I live for free help! (Technically, it's not free and part of your tuition funds their department, but either way, you should take advantage!)
3. Talk to your academic advisor!
They're free too! Make an appointment or try walking in for a quick 15-minute mentor to student talk. People in these positions are students, teachers, and professional staff who have been in your shoes and understand better than anyone how difficult college can be when you don't really know what you want to study. They can also refer you to additional resources to help determine your academic interests or your dream career, so that they can suggest a particular path of courses to take.
4. Look for internships!
Okay, okay, I know... no one likes to work for free, BUT just think about how good your resume will look! You might actually end up loving what you do, and if you're great at it, you can move up to a more permanent, paid position. Internships are required for most majors anyways and it would be helpful to be familiar with that environment so that you can excel at a later internship.
If you're not ready to commit to one place/field, try community service! This is a great way to become well-rounded and, again, make your resume look good. While helping others and making a difference, you may also discover newly found interests and surprise yourself in the process.
6. Do your research!
There are tons of sites on major and career exploration. Let me rephrase that... there are tons of FREE sites on major and career exploration. Answer a few questions and create an academic profile to help figure out what major is best for you. If you're already interested in a major, look it up, talk to a current student in that major, or talk to an advisor within that major department.
7. Take a few classes from that major!
Before fully committing, make sure you take at least the intro class to that major—and if you can, a few more. In many cases, it will fall under other general electives if you decide not to major in that, but if you do, then you've got a head start on your major requirements.
Lastly, I want to stress the fact that it is OKAY to change your mind! Whether you're one year in or five, you are entitled to change your mind at any time. Remember that you are doing this for you and you should want to choose something that excites you and lights a fire in you!
A little background on me: I am a fourth year/senior and I am planning to graduate this upcoming spring. If you made your way to this article, chances are I have been in your shoes or know someone who has. Aside from that, I am also a college mentor for high school students, so I also know what it's like to start from scratch and have no idea where to go. Please reach out to me, I would love to help!
Email me at [email protected] and don't forget to leave a tip to help me continue my academic journey. Thank you in advance for any support!