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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

5 Tips for Deciding your Major | Back to School

You’ve decided to go to college but the idea of having just 1 major is stressing you. That’s ok, not everyone is inspired to decide on their career path from very early. Although I was, I surely had those moments where I felt like changing majors and as I move forward to considering a Master’s the options have me at a crossroads.

1. An undeclared Major

Majors are important because of the hard work you have to put into your degree, but remember, nothing is set in stone and at any moment you may find your self drawn to a particular cause more than what you were studying. Luckily for students at US colleges, you can take a year undecided and do a number of courses until you feel your fit. Take that time seriously, and explore your options. try it out, think ahead to the next 10 years and where you could see yourself going.

2. Look at your previous grades

What are you doing the best in and the worst. How do you feel about these subjects? Is it something you feel you can rally through with, improve in the long run? Or is it something that just comes to you naturally? Although secondary school/ high school workload is not nearly as close to that of university’s, be mindful of the studies that make you feel alive. It may not always be the subject you get the highest grades in, but may be what intrigues you most. Think of yourself spending your days doing it, would it be a bore or would you still feel like you belong there and strive for more?

3. Research your career options

I used to think studying a general degree would give me more options, and considering that I still need  to specialise in my Master’s makes me feel as though I should have specialised from earlier so I could begin my career earlier. But in saying that too, having an open degree, allows you to dabble in a number of areas before you feel inclined to doing just one.It allows for flexibility. You have to be prepared for it whether you choose the specialised or general pathway.

4. Volunteer

I wish I had done this sooner, but alas I didn’t have the time when I started school. If you can within the first year of college, try to volunteer at a couple of places, see what the culture is like. Again imagine what your life would be like if you worked there. If you could remain in this kind of environment, what progress you could make. Then based on that, it should be a little easily to help your Major decision.

5. Don’t chase after money or recognition, or be concerned about your past

In choosing careers, some people are mostly driven by money, or how others will view them in a career. Don’t do it, you’ll be in that field for many years of your life, stuck miserable. If you’ve studied science during secondary school and want to be a chef do it! If you came from poor family background and wanted to be in healthcare to help others, do it! If you want to study politics or law to help others do it. Don’t be discouraged by the past, you don’t live there, you’re in the present.

The end point is to be in a place where you feel like you belong and can push yourself to be better, to do great things. You should be able to see yourself working in such a job for 5 years or more. May not be the exact position or company, but where do you see yourself in the long term?

Even if you have chosen a career and are working for a number of years but still not satisfied, you can always start again. Online learning, entrepreneurship, starting a different job. Nothing is set in stone. The goal is just for you to make yourself happy.


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