Picking a Major Does Not Mean Picking a Profession


Today, society pushes high school and college students to choose a major and even profession at a very premature age. Our world has made the college major and career intrinsically intertwined, making students figure out how they want to spend the rest of their lives at an age where they aren’t even knowledgeable enough to make an informed decision. How are 18-year-olds supposed to know and plan their career path when they don’t even know how to live on their own yet?


Coming from a family with a father as a surgeon and a brother as an engineer, both of whom had to declare their majors— and ultimately professions— at a young age, I was terrified this would be a requirement for me too. I hate making decisions. It is one of my least favorite things about life, and I am not good at it. So, when I began looking at colleges I knew I had to choose a college that did not require me to apply directly into a school or declare a major upon entering.


To this day, as a first-semester sophomore, I still do not know what I want to declare as my major. I spent weeks stressing over this decision, made countless phone calls home to vent to my parents, and even visited the OPCD for guidance. The reason I anxiously dwelled on the decision was that I was under the impression that picking a major would mean choosing my job. Because I still do not know what I want to do after graduation, I hated the idea of restricting myself to one area of study and limiting my career options. Nearly every adult and educated person I spoke to about my problem assured me that A) I still had a few months until I had to make an official decision and B) that one’s college major does not matter in the larger picture of life. I finally began to understand that unless you plan to go into a specific, narrow pre-professional program, (which I did not) then your college major does not determine your career. 


Just because you’re a history major does not mean you can only have a career as a history teacher, or just because you’re a religion major does not mean you’re stuck working in a church forever. The best advice I was given about picking a major was to study something that you are passionate about. Because, at the end of the day, you want to invest your time and energy into work that you love.