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“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

It is a question you may have often heard when you were younger.  But as you start your journey towards college it is likely to shift to the possibly more stressful question, “What are you going to major in?” Well, what if you still don’t know?

Before you start to panic, take a step back and get some perspective. What the question is really asking is: what are you interested in? Well first of all, you may not know what you want to study, but there’s a higher chance that you know what you don’t want to study.  Hate complex math? Dread writing papers? It doesn’t matter if the school has 60+ majors to choose from if half of them involve a lot of calculation or long-form writing.  Cross them out! 

Once you’ve narrowed down the list of potential majors, look at some of the courses available in the different departments. Are there any course titles that interest you? What is it about the class that seems interesting? The first two years of college should be about inquiry, curiosity, and discovery.  You should definitely consider taking courses in a few different departments. It may be a little twisted, but you won’t know what you want to study unless you learn more about it.  Through the process of elimination (or deep exploration), you can get a better sense of your interests. 

Lastly, remember that your college major doesn’t determine your future career. It is quite common for people to have majored in a field that isn’t directly connected to their current job. Whether you pick the perfect major or not, you will end up learning some critical skills such as project management, critical questioning and analysis, expressing yourself verbally and in writing. 

So the next time someone asks you, “what are you going to study?” just let them know that college is a journey, not a destination. Enjoy the process!


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