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Some Major Advice

by Hannah Fowler 3 years ago in college

Choosing, Changing, and How to Enjoy Your Major

During my four years in college, I've worn my way through three majors. I started with creative writing, and I loved it, but the thought of leaving school without "job opportunity" scared me so much that I made it my minor and switched to marketing. A year in marketing left me exhausted, with no joy for my major and dread in my heart at the thought of doing it for the rest of my life. I failed several classes, and I realized that having a major I hated wasn't worth my energy.

This year starts my career as a communications and public relations major. I'm more confident about this major than I have been about any of the others, but there's still that sinking feeling in my stomach when I think about what comes next. College often feels like a black hole of options, and choosing the right option seems critical. It can feel like you’re drowning in daunting questions.

How much money will my major earn me?

How much could I earn if I majored in something else?

Is this really the path for me?

With the school year getting back into motion, I wanted to talk about the dilemma from my point of view, and give advice from what I’ve learned these last few years.

Don't stress over choosing a major.

Freshmen, this one's for you. Colleges are going to assault you your first semester with every major they offer, and every major wants you to join them. Listen to the different options available to you—take the flyers, go to the introduction events being hosted—but take your time committing to one. There is time, I promise. College should be about exploring who you are, and picking a major that’s right for you falls squarely under that category.

Look at all your options: Some might surprise you!

This is one I learned the hard way. When I switched from creative writing to marketing, my thought process was that I could combine the two to become a sort of PR-type marketer. Little did I know, that major already existed in the form of communications. I hadn't even considered communications as an option, and I didn't discover until my senior year that it was exactly what I'd been looking for the whole time. The sooner you look into the possibilities, the better, but that doesn’t mean you’re out of luck if you get a late start.

Take some time to get to know your major.

Whether you've declared a major or not, you should make a conscious effort to get to know the ins and outs of the field. Maybe someone on your freshman floor is taking biology courses, or your RA is an art history major: Get to know them! (Not only will you make a friend, but there are a million perks for having someone to reference; textbooks, professor recommendations, study partners.) In addition, try to go meet with major-specific advisors. Generally, they'll be able to help you figure out what you're really looking for, and provide the necessary resources for you to prosper.

Dropping a major feels like quitting—it isn't.

Investing so much time and money into a major that doesn't end up working hurts. Badly. It feels like a waste, like quitting, and you want nothing more than to take it all back and start over. But even if you change your major senior year, none of it was a waste. The things you learn will widen your field of vision and stay with you for the rest of your life. Not only do you have the experience, but you have learned things that could enhance whatever it is you end up choosing.

As the school year starts to pick up speed, it's all too easy to feel rushed into a major you aren't certain about. Whether you're trying to pick a career path, or considering changing the path you're on, trust your instincts. You know when you've found a good thing, and there are endless communities of support to help you find your path.

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Hannah Fowler

Communications and PR major

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