Picking Your Major: A Student’s Tale

Whether you are a freshman first arriving, a sophomore gearing up for round two, a junior driving forth or a senior facing his or her last year, there is no question that there can be a significant amount of pressure involved in picking a major. Many questions swell up in a conundrum that appears in front of your mind. What major will get me in the best position for a career? Graduate school? A job? Since I am paying halfway to six figures to come here, what is the best choice for me?

Please, for the sake of genuine education, avoid these questions when choosing a major. Time and again, there are students who choose majors because they want to go towards career that make them the most money, or will get them the best job somewhere. This mentality, for lack of better word, can destroy the whole point of a liberal arts education.

When you decided to come to Connecticut College, you did not enroll for the same education you would get at a large-scale university like George Washington, NYU, USC or Ohio State. You came to a small school that specializes in giving students a broad education.

I recall a conversation I once had with a friend, who laughed when I said I wanted to pick up English as a second major to film. When I asked him why he chose to be an international relations major, his response conveyed that it would potentially the best job, the best pay and look the best on his resume.

I was not upset. I was sad. The fact that students choose to forgo their passion or interest and instead take calculated risks saddened me.

Now do not get me wrong, if you are passionate about international relations, government, mathematics, or even economics (I personally do not know how that is possible, but it sure is) whatever it maybe – do major in it. However, if you go into any endeavor, especially something as important as your college career, under the blinding impression of a calculated risk, then proceed with serious warning, because you are missing out.

Certain people may mock an English, dance, music, film, art or self-designed major, and ignorant people can deem it as a long road for the unemployed, but nothing could be more untrue. Any life worth living or career worth pursuing requires hard work – and lots of it.

What you do during your undergraduate career can be very different from your professional endeavors. Someone who majors in art history can some day become a doctor – I’ve seen it happen. It may take longer, but it is possible. Filmmaker Martin Scorsese majored in English as an undergrad, and procured his film degree as a graduate. Bill Clinton studied philosophy, politics and education before he went on to get his JD at Yale. Famous film producer Jerry Bruckheimer majored in psychology before pursuing his extremely lucrative and successful career.

A comprehensive education goes hand-in-hand with intelligence and experience.

A student who majors in history or psychology has just as much of a chance to go to law school as one who takes up pre-law or government. Everyone gets to their final destination in different ways, whether it be talent, dedication or brightness.

A once in a lifetime opportunity presents itself at a liberal arts college: the ability to study and learn what you want.

If you can not find a major that grabs you, then make your own. If you have not found something that you feel passionate about, don’t worry – explore subjects and it will happen.

When you finally make the decision on your major, be sure it is something you are genuinely passionate about.

1 Comment

  1. I mean, I agree. Pick a major that you care about. But did you have to make this a lesson to us? The nature of Conn College is already to encourage students to not think too hard about how their major relates to their future. More so than I think you realize. So now what? Take your piece a step further. Give me a story of some student who’s gonna take a German major, or a classics major, and do something cool with it.

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