How to choose a college major

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

So you’ve been accepted into college, congrats!

Now it’s time to register for classes and select a major, and in most cases a minor too. For those of you who have not known what you wanted to do with your life since the age of 6, this may seem like a complicated task, but I am going to simplify it for you.

First thing you need to do is determine which category you fall into.

Is it most important to...

A) make a lot of money with your degree, or

B) Have a job in which you truly enjoy?

Yes being able to do both is possible, but let’s just start with the basics. If you decide money is the motivator, research the highest grossing salaries, determine which field(s) they fall under and what B.A. most people in that field have. For example, those who receive a B.A. degree in finance can typically get jobs as financial analysts, with a mean salary of $84,000 a year. If you enjoy crunching numbers and math is your thing, then boom…there ya go, but if you don’t like numbers or data analysis, don’t force yourself to try to learn something just because it appears to be a solid career choice. If you do choose the route of selecting a major based on potential future income, make sure to look into what the entry level jobs are paying. A recent graduate is going to make significantly less (in any field) than someone with 5-7 years of experience. Don’t get your hopes up looking at how much a senior financial analyst makes, when you will only immediately qualify to be an entry level analyst. Now let’s look at the other approach, and determine what are you interested in.

Now I can speak from experience that choosing a major based on your interest is going to be much more beneficial in the long run. Take it from this girl that has B.A. in History and a minor in Psychology. What does one do as a history major, you may ask? Well let’s see, you can be happy as a history major, have a social life as a history major, and be excited for class as a history major. Confused? Okay let me give a little more perspective. I chose history because I enjoy learning about it. It was my favourite class in high school, I am good at writing (ah and here I am), memorising the information for tests was not a chore for me, but more like reading a story, so studying was not too stressful.

This allowed me to participate in various extracurricular activities on campus, as I was not overly stressed out with all my classes. I am not saying that majoring in history in and of itself is easy, I mean the tests were written response where you had to complete a one page essay on the spot for each question. But the point is I enjoyed doing it. Get what I’m saying?

College is a time to have fun, make friends, make mistakes, and make the dean’s list all at the same time. You can’t do all of that if you are pulling overnights trying to memorise 832 parts of the body for your anatomy final, and it’s hard to remember because you have no interest in how the fibula relates to the tibia. Yes, going into medicine is a way to make a lot of money, but if you don’t really have motivation to be a surgeon, other than the potential financial payoff in the way distant future... you are going to have a difficult time, my friend.

Also let’s not forget that many degrees are so general that you can work in an array of fields with it. Keeping with the B.A. in history example, I have worked in the loan department at a bank all the way to being a cocktail server in midtown Manhattan (did not see either of those coming). So just because you choose, lets say, “English” as your major, doesn’t necessarily mean that you will be writing novels for a career. You could be a teacher, end up working in marketing for a firm, drive a school bus or hell even, start a non-profit, run for city council, open your own business, and sell homemade coffee cups on Etsy…who knows! The main point is that you like, and are interested in reading and writing (yes that’s what English majors do a lot of…surprise!) to the point that you will enjoy those classes enough to get good grades, and retain the information you learn, because you are excited to be there.

The phrase “if you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life”…is full of it! If you love what you do then you will have fun, at work. You will enjoy going to work, but none the less it is still going to be work, well if you’re actually doing your job right it will be. So with that in mind I suggest choosing a major that will fulfil your life.

By Shae Lambert

Shae Lambert is a travel and lifestyle blogger based in NYC. She is currently receiving her master’s in public administration, while being an actress in an off Broadway show, a dancer, and a freelance writer. Basically she is living the life of about 3 people, but she wouldn’t have it any other way. You can follow Shae’s adventures on Instagram and Twitter at 
@Shaes_travel_lifestyle and on Facebook at Shae’s Travel Lifestyle.

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