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How Professionalism Led Me to the Perfect Major

My journey to finding the right major was not easy. Even though I already had a major declared, I was in the midst of exploring my options and finding out whether there was an even better one. Yet, despite the challenge that my freshman self faced, I was able to gain new experiences and insights that allowed me to learn about the different areas of education here at my university. There were many factors that played a role, but for me, one of the biggest ones was professionalism. Based on my personal experience, here are a few ways professionalism led me to the perfect major.  

Networking and guest speaker events.

I’ve been to quite a few networking events, and I learned that dressing professionally was usually an implied norm that did not need to be emphasized every time you registered for one. For guest speaker events, it depends, but they also deliver this implication that you need to bring forth respect for both the speaker and those around you. Sure, while some of the students you see might just be there because it’s required for a class, there are, in fact, many who aren’t. They attend the event because they’re genuinely interested in it. Those in the audience who didn’t show any interest, in the beginning, might have changed their minds, too, if they began asking questions at the end. The same goes for networking; when you want to stand out to a potential employer, you’re encouraged to ask questions that show your interest in them. Nevertheless, as you build your professionalism through these events, you’re learning more about your desired major as you meet and listen to many different people.


For me, I’m kind of a latecomer: I created my LinkedIn account right before the start of my sophomore year in college. However, within a few months, I landed myself with at least 500 connections, and I had a proficient grasp of how the LinkedIn system works. I guess you could say I was quite aggressive, but the reality was that I was just passionately curious. Throughout this journey of building my network online, I had the opportunity to learn about people’s various interests and successes. Not only was I inspired by their diverse educational backgrounds, but I was also able to further motivate myself to create a LinkedIn profile that would stand out just like many of theirs did.


Of course, I wouldn’t have been able to refine my professionalism skills if it weren’t for my advisors. Because of all my plans for finding and changing to a different major, I’ve met with quite a number of them, and if there was one unifying piece of advice that each of them has given to me, it would be to narrow down my choices to the one or two that I really wanted. They encouraged me to continue researching different career paths until I found one that suited my passions. Even though the search process was somewhat difficult, my advisors were always there to help out and provide useful resources. 

If you are currently in the process of searching for the major that is right for you, just remember that there are so many amazing opportunities out there. At the same time, I encourage you to assess your hobbies, interests, and passions in order to find your single perfect fit. Just like I mentioned previously, the journey won’t be a piece of cake, but it’s definitely worth it. As you grow your professional skills, I hope they will help you one day discover the right path for your future. 

Gennah Penalosa is currently a junior at the Leeds School of Business. During her free time, she likes to draw, play the guitar, and read webcomics.
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