How I Chose My Majors

In high school, I worried about what I would major in more than about where I would go to college. I was terrified of the fact that I had to pick something to do at eighteen years old and potentially stick with it for life. While I am very pleased with the decisions I made, I wish I would have known that one can go into college undeclared or take a gap year. 

When people asked me how I chose to double major in criminology and psychology, I felt like I needed a better answer than “I liked Criminal Minds and wanted a career where I could help people.” I started thinking about how I got to where I am and how many times I thought I had made up my mind only to change it again. 

I began to seriously think about my career around freshman year. At the time, my dream was to become a nurse. Simultaneously, my dad was battling an array of autoimmune diseases and sat in a wheelchair; I took care of all his needs during this time. I knew how to use a blood pressure monitor and I learned how to deal with oxygen tanks. It seemed like the perfect job until I realized I couldn’t handle needles and blood as well as I thought. 

pink stethoscope Photo by Christopher Boswell from Unsplash During the summer before sophomore year, I decided I knew for sure that I wanted to be a lawyer. A common theme with my ideas for jobs included helping people. That summer I went to camp and took a “Criminal Law and Mock Trial” class. I loved the aspect of learning law, but when I did a mock trial, I found that I could not be a lawyer to save my life. Preparing for cases and speaking to a fake court was enough to make me hate the entire concept. 

In junior year I decided I wanted to be a forensic scientist. The idea of being on crime scenes and helping solve crimes fascinated me. Since I had a gap in my schedule, I took an online class for forensic science. I hated it. I was horrible at the required math and I could not make sense out of different kinds of blood spatter. The next semester, I took a criminology class to continue exploring the world of criminal justice. 

close up of desk with laptop, books, papers and coffee mug Photo by Daria Obymaha from Pexels After the first few weeks of my criminology class, I knew that I wanted to major in criminology. It fascinated me and it made sense. When I started thinking about what I could do with a criminology degree, it was suggested to me that I double major in psychology. I already liked the subject of psychology, so I went with it. 

While researching what to do with a joint degree, I found correctional facility psychology. I now plan to graduate from the University of Denver with a criminology and psychology degree. Next I’d like to go to a school such as Pennsylvania State, which offers a five-year program to obtain my master’s degree and PhD in psychology. After that, I plan to become a Correctional Facility Psychologist in order to help inmates reintegrate into society, study inmates in prisons, and hopefully make newfound or enlightening contributions to the field of psychology.