One of the most overwhelming questions when first attending college is what you want to major in. There are countless options and it seems like such a defining choice that will directly shape your future.
You’re still extremely young and you likely have no clue what you want to do with the rest of your life! Some choices may seem appealing because of the salary or job duties, but it’s important to make sure you select a major for the right reasons!
If you’re interested in building a real solution to a problem that you care about, then you simply won’t be satisfied with something like an accounting degree that sticks you in an office and buries you with spreadsheets.
We have a few helpful tips below to help you pick a major that best aligns with your interests.
Understand Your Priorities
You should start by developing a clear understanding of what your priorities are when it comes to a career.
Do you want to earn a six-figure income? Or would you rather feel passionate about working every day, doing something that you know you love?
The two aren’t mutually exclusive and sometimes they intertwine. For example, if you genuinely love helping people improve their health, being a doctor may net you both of those goals.
Unfortunately, it’s more likely that making good money and enjoying your job will involve different careers. You’re probably going to work for roughly 40 years or more, meaning that you’re going to spend most of the rest of your life working at a job.
This is why you should figure out what matters to you the most before deciding on a major.
Once you know your priorities, it’s time to be realistic with yourself.
Many people say that they want to be a doctor or lawyer and this might align with your priorities. However, can you seriously see yourself finishing a degree and then tacking on several years of law or medical school?
Realistically, very few students are willing to commit to this. Some do, but then end up dropping out of law/medical school within the first year or two.
This is why it is critical to understand why you’re picking a major and making sure that you’re not doing it just because it makes good money. If you aren’t dedicated to the field, then you won’t have the perseverance to stick with the rigorous education and training that go along with it.
Research Your Ideal Career
After being realistic about what careers you think that you can commit to, it’s time to research what the job entails.
It might sound appealing to be a lawyer presenting a case in a courtroom, but much of being a lawyer involves paperwork and meeting with clients. Few lawyers spend a lot of their time in a courtroom like you might expect from watching TV.
Don’t base your expectations on what you see on TV or social media. The gritty daily grind is where you’ll be spending a majority of your time and that isn’t glamorous enough to be highlighted for your entertainment.
Instead, you should look at job descriptions, interview questions, and personal accounts from people that work directly in the field. You’ll likely discover that your “dream career” is far less exciting than you thought.
Speak With a Professional
Once you’ve researched a few careers that you might enjoy, it’s a good idea to speak with someone that works in your desired field.
You can do this by finding contact info for small business owners, professionals, and executives that work the job you’re aiming for. Many people will be thrilled to respond to you and give you their personal opinion about what the career entails.
This is also a good opportunity for you to find a mentor should you hear about a job that does excite you. While professionals are likely very busy, some are delighted to pass their knowledge down to a prospective worker that is eager to learn.
You can also ask to shadow someone at their job, which will give you direct insight as to what occurs daily. This communication can lead to a great source of reference, a potential internship, and even a job interview if you’re lucky!
Picking a college major is anything but easy, but it becomes a requirement after completing a few years of college. While the decision is certainly intimidating, it becomes a little easier if you’re willing to put in some effort.
You can make your choice easier by understanding your priorities and being realistic about what you’re willing to do. From here, you should research your ideal career and reach out to a professional in that field to learn more about what the job entails.
While a college degree may seem binding, it doesn’t always need to be what you do for the rest of your life. If all else fails, pick something generalized, like business, that will give you a solid foundation with skills that translate to all walks of life.
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