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Solving Your Major Problems

Since our first year of school spent within the colorful walls of our kindergarten classrooms, parents, friends and teachers alike have enjoyed asking us one question: what do you want to be when you grow up? This question is considered playful when we are four and five--we respond (confidently) with dreams of becoming a firefighter, a doctor or a teacher. But, as we get older, the question gets more difficult to answer.

By the time we reach high school, the question of what we want to do with our lives continues to nag at us as our uncles and grandmothers inquire about our chosen majors and colleges. In middle school, my answer was always the same: I wanted to go to Boston College (dream come true!) and study nursing. Seeing as I am now an Applied Psychology major and have taken courses in each of the four schools within this University, I have come a long way from thinking that I had my life figured out when I was 18.

Photo courtesy of BC Career Center / Twitter

Photo courtesy of BC Career Center / Twitter

Choosing a major when you’re 17 or 18 years old is not an easy decision. If you have a hard enough time deciding whether you want a Turkey & Brie or New England Classic when you go to Hillside, you can probably understand--or have experienced for yourself--how difficult it is to choose a major as a freshman. For those of you who came to college with all eight semesters planned out and have a running list of the graduate schools you want to apply to, good for you; you’re all rockstars for knowing what you want to do with your life.

For the rest of you, don’t sweat it. According to a blog on the website Woofound, at least 50 percent of today’s college students end up switching majors once they get to college and realize they cannot handle the strenuous requirements of the pre-med track or the stress of [insert challenging or undesirable major here].

The fact that some of us change our minds two, three or even four times about what we want to study is nothing to be ashamed of, especially since we are forced to pick a potential major when we apply to college and give it a shot once we get to campus. We are lucky that we do not have to stick with our original major if we determine it’s not going to work out for us, but it can be stressful to have to start from square one and reassess our interests when we thought we had our college career mapped out.

Some of the most common reasons to switch your major include finding the material uninteresting or too difficult, having a change of heart or realizing that you are most likely not going to get a job within your current major's designated career path. Whatever your reasoning, if you feel that the classes you have taken do not appeal to you, you’re not alone and it is perfectly OK to try something else. It’s obviously not the best idea to change your major just because it’s too much work, but if you’re drowning in coursework and don’t see the potential value in having a degree in a specific major, drop it like a hot potato.

Selly Sallah / Gavel Media

Selly Sallah / Gavel Media

According to Woofound, the beauty of not knowing exactly which major fits the career you want is that most jobs do not require that you graduate with a specific degree. So, if you’re not completely sure that your major will lead you directly to your dream job, have no fear: potential employers are often more interested in the experiences you’ve had and the work ethic you’ve developed than what you’ve studied.

Lucky for us as BC students, we go to a school that has plenty of resources to go to for help, should we be unhappy with our current major or unaware of how the one we’ve chosen will get us closer to the career we want. There is always a career counselor over at the Career Center available to help students choose a major (plus, it’s kind of what they’re paid to do), and we are fortunate enough to be surrounded by many professors who are eager to share what they know about careers related to their field. When you finally choose the major that’s right for you (and allows you to graduate on time), don’t be afraid to ask your advisor for their advice as well.

Above all, don’t overthink your major too much because, in the end, you want to be taking classes that will get you out of bed in the morning and make you want to learn; that’s what will make you the happiest. Happy studying!

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