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Choosing a Major 101

“What are you going to study?” The follow-up question to the infamous “Where are you going to college?” question. For some, the decision was easy. They spent their childhood lining up their dolls for checkups or gathering their friends to play school or taking their family’s game system apart. For others, the choice feels like throwing a dart at the course catalog while blindfolded and seeing where it lands. Choosing your path in life is important—here are a few tried and proven methods to help you as you’re choosing your major—without the dart.

Pray—for wisdom. God made you—with all of your talents, quirks, passions, and dreams—and He can show you exactly what you are meant to do. What better place to start than with Him when choosing your major? Todd Lystlund (incoming Fr., Mechanical Engineering) said, “This is where you’re preparing yourself to go out and do whatever God has you to do. Come with the mind of, God, this is all up to you; I’ll do whatever you want me to. Just help me to make the right decision.”
Tip Set aside a specific time in a place where you feel closest to God, and pray over your future.

Ask—those who know you best. The people closest to you often have insight into what you excel at. They notice things about you that you may have overlooked. Abby Abad (Jr., Nursing) said, “I definitely think that the people you’re surrounded with influence what you want to major in.” While you shouldn’t base your entire decision around what others think, you can gain insight from others’ perspectives. Pay attention when someone says “You’re really good at that,” or “Wow, I could see you as a _______!” Your career path might just be nearby.
Tip Take a minute to track down a few coworkers, friends, and relatives. Ask them what they think you’re good at and what three words describe you.

Reflect—on your likes and dislikes. It probably goes without saying, but it makes sense to pursue a major you love. What do you enjoy doing most? Do you like serving others, or the challenge of a difficult math equation? Are sports your thing? What gets you excited? Cody Ulmer (Soph., Sport Management) said, “I chose sports management because I love athletics. I am into fitness, and I like helping people so being a personal trainer would be a dream come true. I would love to do this for the rest of my life. Fitness isn’t just a hobby for me; it’s a lifestyle.”
Tip Take inventory of your hobbies, dreams, and passions; look for a common denominator among them.

Explore—all your options. Research a variety of careers—even fields you might not necessarily have thought of at first. Don’t just focus on the obvious. Try looking up the top careers of the year and current trends in the job force—like which jobs have the lowest unemployment rate or the median income for different degrees. Tyler Harrison (Grad., M.B.A.) said, “We’re passionate about what we’re knowledgeable about. Pick an opportunity and follow it.”
Tip Make a list: jot down anything that interests you and research potential careers in those fields.

No matter what major you choose, there will be difficult days, but be encouraged because the fulfillment that comes from doing what you are meant to do far outweighs the challenges. Dave Ham (Sr., Studio Art) said, “For me, just starting a new work is hard, but I know once I have my basic inspiration and composition then I will really enjoy creating it and bringing my idea to life. Looking back on something I did and like confirms that I chose the right field.”

Published 7/27/2017