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College Major Decisions & Doubts

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

As an intended EMST (Entertainment and Media Studies) and English double-major, a reoccurring question has haunted me at every family event since going away to college: the basic, “What are you going to do with your major?”

Instead of trying to explain my dream of writing and working with television, I brush the question off with a simple, “I don’t know yet.” This is mostly due to my doubt of my majors and the worry I have for what people think of me. Luckily, I am a first-year college student, and I am not fully expected to know exactly what I want to do with my life yet. As a freshman in college, you are told not to stress because being a first-year student entails checking off core classes and exploring other courses you never got to experience in high school. Also, the phrase, “Every student switches their major at least once in college,” has been thrown at me more times than I can count. Eventually there will come a time when I have to answer that question not just for aunts and uncles with their prodding questions at Thanksgiving, but for myself as well.

Choosing and being confident in a major is one of the hardest things to go through in college. The pressure is supplied by the investment of time and money: two things you don’t want to waste. College opens up a world of opportunities; there is bound to be doubt when there are hundreds of different paths you could take, some being ones you never knew existed.  

Currently, I am taking an elective that deals with figuring out academic and career choices. The course stresses following your passion, but to also be realistic when choosing a major and career path. Something most of us will have to factor in while thinking about choosing the two is the debt we will accumulate by the end of the four-plus years we are in college. In order to thrive in the real world, it’s emphasized to pick a good major choice for the sake of a stable career and money. While those two things are obviously vital, it is important to think and incorporate your passions when choosing. Here are a couple of quotes that will help you when you are in doubt about your major or having trouble when choosing one!

1. Julie Mayfield’s advice from a US News article:

“1. If you don’t have a passion that you’re dying to follow, major in something practical. You may discover a passion later in life, but in the meantime, you will increase your odds of finding a job that pays well. (Or, in this economy, any job at all.)

“2. If you do have a passion for something, follow it. There are well-paid people in every field, and life is too short to pass up an opportunity to work at what you love.”

2. An article from The College Helper:

“As I moved through my first semester and I began to doubt my major choice, I remembered the advice my advisor gave to me on my first day on campus, ‘It’s ok to change your mind!’  Instead of being afraid to go in a new direction, I embraced a completely new major and didn’t look back.  I changed my major again the next semester, and the results proved to be rewarding.  Since my major revisions, I have been able to attain a rich and diverse education that is tailored specifically to my interests, and provides me with an excellent stepping-stone into career field I wish to pursue.”

3. Valerie Turner’s blog post for MSU:

“While no one can remove all doubt from their world, your time here at MSU does not have to be plagued by uncertainty. It is normal to have doubts. These uncertainties can motivate you to do what is necessary to understand yourself and your goals. The University offers many resources for you to take advantage of as you gain clarity. Gather information, speak to professionals like those in the Career Center, accept the possibility of redirection and failure, and try to keep things in perspective.”

Explore as much as you can to help you with your doubts and decisions. The University of Georgia, as well as other universities, provides resources such as the career center, alumni, clubs, other students, and even a multitude of classes to explore anything and everything. Follow your passions! You can have more than one. Try to narrow down what you like and build off of it, and see if you can make a career out of it. Do not pursue something just because others don’t understand it. Though, do be realistic and research majors and plan out what you want in your career and life.

Here is an awesome quote from Doubt by John Patrick to help you deal with your doubt:

“It is Doubt (so often experienced initially as weakness) that changes things. When a man feels unsteady, when he falters, when hard-won knowledge evaporates before his eyes, he’s on the verge of growth. The subtle or violent reconciliation of the outer person and the inner core often seem at first like a mistake, like you’ve gone the wrong way and you’re lost. But this is just emotion longing for the familiar. Life happens when the tectonic power of your speechless soul breaks through the dead habits of the mind. Doubt is nothing less than an opportunity to reenter the Present.”