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The Chaos Theory – Your major doesn’t determine your career!

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Bucknell chapter.

Let’s face it… life is unpredictable. It takes a million twists and turns and can go, “sideways and slantways and long ways and backways,” as Willy Wonka would say. The point is, we will never be in as much control as we may wish, and that’s okay. 

I found some relief in knowing that. Yesterday, I had no idea what today would bring, and I now have no idea what tomorrow will. However, when it came to deciding on a major—and a whole career path for that matter—I was the opposite of relieved. Like many, I put so much pressure on myself to have everything figured out so early on. I liked the feeling of being in control and having power over my future, but it took me a bit to come to reality and realize that this was irrational and impossible. I can’t control every part of my future, and frankly, I don’t want to. 

You may have heard of the butterfly effect: the idea that a butterfly can flap its wings and bring upon a typhoon. Every small action can have such a major impact on our lives, and that’s not to scare us, but rather to help open us up to the possibilities and opportunities we are presented with. 

An adaptation of the butterfly effect is presented in the book, You Majored in What?. The idea of the chaos theory is contrasted with the linear path. The chaos theory is the idea that “there is no rhyme or reason to one’s career path,” but despite its name, it isn’t chaotic, it’s complex (9). There are so many variables and opportunities that can change our career path. Just because you are a psychology major doesn’t mean you’ll be a psychologist. A bio major doesn’t necessarily have to go pre-med. Rather, computer science majors can become artists, econ majors can become veterinarians, and art majors can work in a district attorney’s office. Though there are trends and certain prerequisites for high level jobs, our majors don’t determine our career or our life. Life isn’t linear and never will be. 

So then, my advice to you is to follow your passions and your goals whatever they may be. Take advantage of every opportunity that seems interesting, get involved, and make connections. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to fit a mold or follow a certain path. Find hope and comfort in the fact that whatever is meant to be will be. Everything happens for a reason, truly. 

Elli O'Meara

Bucknell '26

Hey! My name is Elli O'Meara and I'm from Wilton, CT. I'm on a pre-law track with a sociology major and a legal studies and philosophy double minor. I love staying active, watching sunsets, going on drives, and spending time with friends!