Why You Shouldn't Stress So Much About Your College Major

“What’s your major? What’s your major? What’s your major? What’s your major?”

Without a doubt it is the second most asked question on any and all college campuses and sometimes even asked before “What’s your name?” Different majors get different reactions from the asker and depending on whether or not you chose your major in addition to your level of passion and love for the subject, seeing someone’s response can either boost or lower your self-esteem.

Let’s be real.

Some majors get more respect than others, for completely idiotic reasons. But it happens.

While some might brush off judgmental looks, others take the negative criticism very personally and might even be tempted to change their major as a result.

Just in case you are someone who is debating changing their major because your friend, family member, bus driver, etc. thinks you won’t be able to get a job after college… do not listen to them and most definitely DO NOT change your major (unless you really want to).

The sad truth is that today’s society considers the sciences, business, and medical related fields much more valuable than the arts and humanities. As a result, more and more students are choosing majors that will easily allow them to find a job after college in order to pay off their student loans, provide for their families, etc. In addition, some students just don’t know what they want to do with their lives (it is a big question) and choose the safest option. Unfortunately, sometimes this forces them to sacrifice dreams in exchange for job security.

Thankfully, more and more studies are revealing how most stereotypes about college majors are incorrect and how you CAN be successful in any major of your choice.

A New York Times article debunks the myth that only STEM majors earn top dollar salaries: “An English major in the 60th percentile makes $2.76 million in a lifetime, a major in psychology $2.57 million and a history major $2.64 million.” While these numbers depend on the type and level of job you’re doing, I hope these numbers relieve some of the fear that you won’t ever make any money. In addition, they also touched on the belief that students need a major: “Majors tend to lag behind changes in the workplace. No wonder fewer than a third of college graduates work in jobs related to their majors.” While most colleges do require their students to declare a major, this serves as a reminder that no one is permanently stuck on the field they chose when they were in their early twenties.

I hope that relieved some of your fears about college majors. Now let’s focus on useful steps you can take to ensure you have all the skills necessary to land an amazing job after college.

According to an article published on Forbes, most students should focus less on the labels such as majors and degrees, and more on the overall experience of being in college and participating in activities and extracurriculars they are passionate and interested in, after all employers are interested in what applicants are interested in.

In addition, there is an emphasis on honing soft skills, not major topics. Soft skills fall under being willing and able to learn quickly on the job along with being responsive to the tasks and assignments given. Good cooperation, communication, and leadership skills stand out to employers more than perfect GPAs. Lastly, meet and talk with your professors either by setting up an appointment with them or going to their office hours. College professors are valuable resources who can provide connections for students about to enter the professional world. If a certain professor doesn’t have the information you are looking for, it is more than likely they can refer you to someone who does. In addition to that, attend alumni networking nights and career fairs. You never know when or where you might stumble onto your next big opportunity.

Lastly, focus on what you love even if you don’t think it aligns with your major. The great thing about college is that it is a period of time in your life when you can try anything and everything. If you try a club or sport by chance and end up loving it, that’s great. If you don’t, then at least you tried. The bottom line is to not box yourself in during a time when self-exploration and discovery are at its peak. Don’t worry about not fitting in or being the only Chemistry major writing poetry for the college newspaper. There’s nothing wrong with exploring outside of your major. For example, last year’s president of poetry club was a biology major, the book club’s president was a psychology major, and I have a friend who is a computer science major and probably writes the best short stories I have ever read.

Our majors don’t define us, we define ourselves. So, get out there and be the best definition of yourself possible!

 

Sources: 1, 2

Images: 1, 2