College is hard. Deciding on a major is sometimes even harder. So what do you do when you’re having doubts about your career path? What about when you’re close to graduation and you’re dreading what lies ahead? First things first, relax. Thousands of college students have been in your shoes before and here’s what some of them had to say when they were having doubts about their major.
1. Talk to a counselor
A counselor’s purpose on a college campus is to guide you into the world so that you can be a productive member of society. Part of doing so requires that you enter into a field that you enjoy. Elaina Steingard, a senior journalism major at the University of Missouri says, “Talk to a guidance counselor and look into other major options and career paths. If you’re dreading your classes within your major, talk to a counselor about what needs to be done in order to switch.” Mandy Bailes, an employee in the advising office at the University of Missouri says online quizzes are also a good route to go when you’re unsure about your major. “Online quizzes (such as StrengthsQuest) focus on your five biggest strengths and give you options for majors that would be good for your personality. [StrengthsQuest] also gives you study tips and future jobs you may be interested in.”
2. Talk to older students in your major
They know better than anyone about what it takes to do well in your major. Try to be unbiased when asking for their opinions. If everyone you talk to hates biology, however, then chances are you won’t find reasons to love it. You most likely won’t love everything about your major, but if the good things outweigh the bad then that’s something to consider. Katie Roberts, a student at the University of Missouri, did this when she was starting out in her program. “Before each semester I would ask the older girls in my chapter who were in journalism how they liked a class. I would lean on them and ask for guidance with my schedule and teacher preference. Their input definitely made an impact.”
3. Take an elective to test out a new major
If you can’t decide between two things that you may be interested in then you should take one of the subjects as a class elective. You will probably receive credit for the course while figuring out if it is something you could see yourself doing after graduation. Hannah Hart, a student at Auburn University, says, “This is probably the best option for someone with doubts about their major. Worse case scenario would be they end up with a minor.” Or, they could end up graduating with a double major, which could be just what you need to succeed.
4. Go to the career center
The career center offers tons of resources aside from talking with an advisor. Here you can network with possible employers, participate in mock interviews, work on your resume and discuss future plans with a career specialist, which is different from an academic advisor. Katherine Barton, a senior at Auburn University, had doubts about her major. “Going to the career center really helped and now I am going to law school after I graduate,” she says.
5. Make a pro/con list
Take some time to make a list of the things you love and hate about your current major. It helps to visually see what things you could deal with and what things may be deal breakers. You could also do the same for another major you are thinking of switching over to.
6. Talk to your parents
Your parents know everything about you and would hopefully steer you in the right professional direction. Bounce ideas off of them; they may need some time to get used to you switching career paths, but at the end of the day they just want you to be happy.
Having doubts about your major is nothing to be ashamed of. The best thing you can do for yourself in this situation is know that no matter the major, there will be times when it is difficult, time-consuming or stressful. Just make sure you are happy in whatever field you choose because if you love your job, that makes going to work that much better.