When I graduated from high school I had no idea what I wanted to major in. My interests just seemed too far-flung. I loved science and music and I loved to write. I knew that all three of these were options but I didn’t love any of those disciplines enough to give up the others.
I was scared of picking a path because I couldn’t see what God’s plans for me were.
I felt like I was stumbling around in the dark, as I was so overwhelmed by the idea of picking what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I was only eighteen.
So I took classes in a few different disciplines and I took care of my general requirements. I knew I had to pick a major by the second semester of my sophomore year if I wanted to graduate on time. As a high school senior sophomore spring seemed really far away. After I started college though, those first three semesters went by in a blink of an eye.
As sophomore spring got closer and closer I started to really panic. I still had no idea what I wanted to major in. So, I hastily declared a major in education. I had worked as a camp counselor for many summers, taught Sunday school during my high school years, and adults always told me I was good with kids. I explored the education program at my school and met with the advisors. It quickly became clear to me that I made a mistake.
In my panic to find a major I ignored what God had been telling my heart all along. I chose education because I thought I would succeed in the field and after graduation I would know exactly what I was going to do. After all, a degree in education was not as open-ended as a degree in political science or biology. At graduation I would be qualified to be a teacher. My entire life so far had revolved around school, so entering the work force after graduation was terrifying.
I panicked because I couldn’t see the plan God had for me. I was having a hard time trusting Him. So, I picked education because it was the safe option.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” -James 1:5
Finally, I asked my mom for guidance and she told me to register for classes that would meet general requirements. I did and then I still needed an elective. As I was searching for classes to fill the gap in my schedule I found a political science class. I had taken political science in high school and every semester since I had started college, and always enjoyed those classes.
Now that I am working my way through the semester it seems obvious I was worried over nothing. God always has a plan for us even if we can’t see every step. He had been telling me with every political science class I took that this was my path. He instilled in my heart a love of politics and for the next two years that is the path I will follow.
When I graduated I thought I should know what I wanted to study. I thought that I should have everything figured out but that’s not what happened. My first two years of college had a lot of trial and error. There isn’t a magic age where God reveals His entire plan for you, instead, you take it step by step. Faith is about trust and it seems like I have to keep learning that.
So, to summarize, if you’re currently trying to pick a major, our top tips are:
Take classes in different disciplines. From political science to art, take a class in as many departments as you can. In the end, most of them will help you satisfy some sort of general elective requirement, but in the mean time, you might be surprised to learn that you actually enjoy something you never thought you would!
Ask yourself: what would you love to learn about every day? Some day, this question will morph into “What would you want to get paid to do every day?” – and the answers to these questions will help you narrow down a career option. It’s okay if your answer changes over time. In fact, it probably will. Or maybe, you’ll realize, like I did, that it’s what you expected to be all along.
In addition, take a minute to research the classes required for the major(s) you’re interested in. Most university websites have an online course catalog with class descriptions. If half the required classes for a major sound boring to you, then no matter how much your parents want you to major in it, you should probably try something that actually interests you!
A major is not a life sentence. According to the Washington Post, only 27 percent of college graduates have jobs related to their major. And it’s not because they can’t find jobs in their field (well, that might be the case for some), but it’s because for most industries and fields, a diploma gets you into the door, but it’s the skills and experience you have that build a career. So, pick a major that will teach you as much as it possible, but know that it will do very little of determining your future. Plus, if you change your mind and want to go into a field that does need a specific degree (like, medicine or law), then you can always go back to school someday.
Learn, learn and learn some more. College is about broadening your horizons, so soak in as much as you can for those two to five years. Get involved. Start applying what you’re learning to real world scenarios – internships, school competitions, networking events, etc… Do well in your classes – work hard and that will speak more to future employers than whatever type of degree is spelled out on your diploma.