Embracing the Journey: Navigating the Maze of Choosing a College Major

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Catherine Asberger
A few college students standing in front of a wedge-shaped building in a European city.

When I started college in 2021, I was very self-conscious about the direction my life was heading in. While other freshmen had grand plans about what they wanted to major in, I had no clue about what major would be best for me. I talked to so many of my classmates and was amazed at the career paths I heard. Pre-nursing, computer science, engineering – their confident declarations only highlighted my own indecisiveness. How did they come to these conclusions at the ripe age of 18, and how could I find a major that sparked the same passion within me?

Assess the Journey

At the start of this journey, not knowing my major made me feel inadequate and lost. I knew that a major I was happy with was not going to fall into my lap, I was going to have to work for it. So, the first step was narrowing down my options. I scrutinized the curriculum of the majors I was interested in, considering which classes might pose challenges and whether I was willing to invest the effort required to overcome them. Additionally, I assessed the job prospects available in each field post-graduation. These self-reflection exercises helped me streamline my choices, bringing me one step closer to a decision.

Apply, Apply, Apply

While this whittled down my choices for a major, I still did not have a clear idea about what I wanted to pursue. My fear was that if I chose a major without getting involved in the subject first, I’d realize that I didn’t like it. Therefore, my next step was to experience my options firsthand. My advice is: if you’re struggling to choose a major, go out there and apply for opportunities that get you immersed into your prospective major(s)! If you can take introductory courses for the major, take them. If you can get involved in volunteer opportunities, do it.

Develop Your Passion

For me, because I was deciding between a marketing degree or an information systems degree, I joined my university’s honors college marketing team. Then, to learn more about a field in a similar ballpark to marketing, I did a PR externship where I got to network with a local PR professional. Outside of professional opportunities, I took lots of classes pertaining to information systems and marketing. These experiences enhanced my resume and developed my skills as a young professional, which is paramount during college. Not only that, but it also served as a compass that guided me towards a major I knew I would love. In the end, I confidently declared as a marketing major halfway through my sophomore year.

Trust the Process

I thought not knowing what I wanted to major in was a major burden, but I was surprised to learn that it is an immense gift. It’s so empowering to say to yourself, “I don’t know where I’m going, but I will figure it out in due time.” It is so empowering to put in the work and trust the process. Don’t shy away from the indecisiveness – lean into it and grow from it.

Seek the Best Version of Yourself

To any fellow students struggling with choosing a major, I implore you not to be too hard on yourselves. Embrace the journey of self-discovery and trust that the right path will reveal itself in due time. Seek guidance from academic advisors, attend career fairs, and engage in internships or volunteer work. Make connections with professionals in the fields you're considering, and don't hesitate to ask for their insights.

Remember, college is not solely about obtaining a degree; it's about nurturing your passions, developing new skills, and evolving into the best version of yourself.

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