My Major Isn’t Exactly for Me: A Navigation How-To

“So, what do you want to do after you leave Blacksburg? See yourself doing anything in particular?”

Instantly, my mind went blank. I stiffened, hands sweating slightly as I stared at my professor. That… that was a very good question.

“I, uh, want to move out west. Probably just find whatever comes to me. I just need to get out of Blacksburg first.” That was my auto-answer at this point, something quick and easy I could pull out of my ass without sounding like I had two brain cells left. It didn’t exactly answer the question or sound even remotely definitive, but it was something, right? 

My professor’s attention instantly dwindled. Obviously, there wouldn’t be much of a conversation forming here. I blushed, feeling guilty, as if I’d somehow disappointed him. Shouldn’t I be reaching for the stars? Grabbing every opportunity that somehow threw itself in my direction? Shouldn’t I be grateful for my chance at this fabulous education?

Grateful, I am. But in all honesty, I truly don’t know what I want to do with my life. I thought I’d enjoy journalism because writing is my passion, but the idea of politics pulls me back. My minor in cinema studies isn’t the world of flashing cameras and quick edits that I thought it’d be, but a lot of planning and time that I’m not truly prepared to put forth. So, as time has slipped on, I’ve had to come to the realization that maybe I’m not so in love with what I’m currently putting so much time and energy into than I thought.

Girl, that is completely okay. More than okay, actually. 

Here’s the truth: what you’re currently doing in college, it matters. It matters because you’re developing a skillset to make snagging a job in the working world much easier than those who haven’t had the same opportunity.  But do you know what matters even more than that? The social skills you’re continuously working on as you go to class each day, talking with professors and peers while putting together projects. The organizational patterns that you begin to form creates a world of adult-like habits you never even knew you were capable of mastering. Somehow keeping your head above water while completing assignments, forming friendships and managing a social life, joining clubs, and being a grown ass adult... THAT is what matters. 

Sure, your resume makes a difference when you’re competing with three other medical students for a top-tier spot in some high-grade graduate school. But once you leave college and join the real world, the most important amount of experience and knowledge you can gain is the ability to take whatever you learned in class, no matter how little you liked it, and apply it to any and every job you get. You don’t have to know the exact details on how to work a particular program or write a specific HR report, as long as you can prove yourself to be an easy-to-work-with employee and ready to sink your teeth into anything you can. Then and only then, the world is truly your oyster.

When my mom graduated from college with her business degree, she ended up working for Universal Studios, a record company, a cruise ship, and as a typist. Do you think she quadruple-majored in theatre, music, whatever gets you onto a cruise ship, and writing? No, she took what she learned in college and made the most of it in every situation. Sometimes it worked out, other times she left in two weeks. We are extremely lucky to be able to live in a world where we can move up and down any corporate ladder without being tied down to anything specific. Sure, sometimes a little extra work will have to be put in, but you’re honestly never stuck, just figuring out how to maneuver around an obstacle.

Continue to work hard and finish out your collegiate career the best that you can, learn as much as possible and gain experience when the opportunity arises. But after that, apply yourself to places that you think will work best for you, not where you think you should go due to past circumstances. Continuing the cycle of constantly putting yourself in a position of regret does absolutely nothing, but working on figuring out the right path by testing all the options and asking for help, that will get you where you not only need to be but also want to be.  

Good luck out there ladies, you’re all rockstars.