First of all, congratulations on stumbling across this blog post. Second of all, LISTEN UP!
Throughout my 6 1/2 years of higher education, I have had the pleasure of experiencing a lot of success. On the contrary, I have also had the, “not-so-pleasure” of experiencing A LOT of failures. The most frustrating part of my failures, is that they could have easily been prevented had I just done a few things differently. The most exciting part of my failures, is that they have taught me a lot of lessons.
Now, I can help prevent other people from making the same mistakes that I did. That is what this blog post is for. Every week, I will provide you with detailed lessons that I learned while being in college. By the time I am done with you, you will have a library of knowledge that will, hopefully, save you a lot of time, mistakes, and money.
One question that students ask themselves all the time, is “What Should I Major In?” I have great news for you. I am going to help you with that decision today; right now.
Why is it Important to Pick a Strong Major
I think we can all agree that college is not cheap. According tobigfuture.collegeboard.org, the average college tuition for a public, in-state four year degree college, is $9,410 dollars a year. That is $37,640 total. Mind you, that number is the average number for a public four-year university. Some colleges and universities cost A LOT more. Also, that $37, 640 is not including housing, books, fees, etc. I can tell you right now that my undergraduate tuition alone was more than $37, 640.
That is one of the main reasons you want to pick a strong major. As much as I wish it was, college is not free. Trust me, you do NOT want to spend that much money on a degree that will not be worth your financial investment. That is what your degree is, an investment. It is not something that you get just because you graduated from high school. You are investing all of that money, so that you can start building a future for yourself.
The Battle That Most Students Face When Picking a Major
One of the biggest battles that I have seen students face when picking a major, is the battle of, a “Passion Major” versus a “Realistic Major”
I can see you now, sitting in your pre-requisite English course, debating whether you want to pursue your passion for painting, or your parents suggestion of chemical engineering. You know what you love, but you are also worried that getting a degree in what you love will not be as profitable as getting a degree that will provide you with a more “realistic” income. What do you do?!
First of all, relax. Believe it or not, (and this took me years to realize), that dillema does not have to be as difficult as you may think.
If you read my About Me section, you learned that even though I pursued a law degree, I consider myself an artist above all things. I understand the battle of wanting to pursue an “unconventional-major” and your “this will allow me to show off and pay my bills major.” (a.k.a the conventional major).
Due to my consistent dilemma, I created an interesting approach that can help you with that battle. Most importantly, I have a created an approach that will not only help you pick a major that you some-what like, but that will help steer you towards a more profitable career.
What Should I Major In? How to Pick a Major that You Will Like, Be Worth Your Money, and Help Your Future
When I was pursuing my undergraduate degree, I changed my major at least six times. Yes, you read that correctly, six times.
I constantly dealt with the battle of “Passion Major” versus “Realistic Major.” In the end, I picked a major that did not prepare me for the future that I wanted. As a result, I went to law school earlier than I expected (which turned out to be the best decision ever), so that I could supplement my not-so-great major. Basically, I wasted four years of schooling and a lot of money for a degree that I cannot really use.
Now please understand, if you want something to work, it can work. There are definitely ways that I can utilize my undergraduate degree. I will write a separate blog post on that. However, I would have saved a lot of time and money had I focused on finding a solution to my battle, as opposed to merely entertaining my battle.
I am happy to say, that I have finally come up with a solution. If you are currently battling those things previously mentioned, I would suggest that you follow this approach:
If you are concerned with picking more of a conventional degree, but you do not want to spend four years hating your degree, consider (a) Picking a major based off financial stability, but that will be interesting enough to help you complete your degree. If you are determined to pursue an unconventional degree, but you do not want to spend money on something that will not land you a decent job should your passion not work out right away, consider (b) Picking a major based off your passions, but that will provide you with the best resources, connections, and financial stability.
Let me break those down for you a little better, starting with (a).
(a) Picking a Major Based Off Financial Stability, but That Will be Interesting Enough to Help You Complete Your Degree
If I could go back in time, this is the option that I would have taken for my undergraduate major. I have a lot of unconventional passions that I am currently turning into careers. For example, I want to be a full-time Digital Marketing Copywriter. That being said, there can be a lot of instability when trying to pursue my passions. Also, I think it is important to challenge my brain to learn about things other than what I personally enjoy.
My financial stability option right now, is my law degree. A smart financial stability option for me when I was in undergrad, would have been a Computer Science degree.
With a Computer Science degree, I would have had the tools and resources to not only help me with my financial needs, but with everything that I am doing now as well. The knowledge that I would have gained would have helped me in my writing and legal career(s).
I do not doubt, that there would have been struggles along the way. Computer Science is not something that I am as passionate about as writing. However, it would have been an excellent avenue to take. You do not need to be head over hills with everything that you do. There are some sacrifices that will have to be made along the way. That being said, the sacrifices do not have to be horrible. You just have to work with what you have, to get what you want.
(b) Picking a Major Based Off your Passions That Will Provide You With the Best Resources, Connections, and Financial Stability.
Ok, if you are set on pursuing a degree that focuses on your passions, you can certainly do that. However, I would suggest that you focus on getting a degree that will either: provide you with excellent tools that will set you a part from your competition, provide you with multiple connections and internships, and/or provide you with a decent job should your journey take you a little longer than expected.
For example, I majored in Applied Arts and Science when I was in undergrad. Now, you may be thinking, “What in the world is that?” If you are asking yourself that, I don’t blame you. Essentially, that degree allowed me take whatever courses I wanted, as long as if they were advanced courses. I will explain in more detail in another post
Do not get me wrong, there are multiple ways that I can use my degree to my advantage. However, I would be lying if I told you all that I do not feel like vomiting when I think about how much money it took to get a degree that I know did not live up to my full potential.
Basically, what I am I am saying, is make sure your passionate degree will properly assist you in your goals. For example, my goal is to by a full-time author and copywriter. When I was telling my brother I was writing this post, he mentioned that English would have been a great major for my writing career. When he said that, I realized what a wonderful decision that would have been.
Yes, English is one of those majors that everyone warned me about. I was always told that English was not a “good” major to pursue. However, if I would have looked at it from more than one perspective, I would have realized that an English major would have been perfect, especially if I chose a school with a great English and Writing Department. I could have applied for all kinds of internships, connected with published professors, went to writing conferences, and even pursued a teaching career while I was waiting on my career to take off. Make sense?
You are going to college, or you are about to go to college, because you want to take your education and career to the next level. I am telling you right now, treat your degree like the prize that it is. Choosing your major is not something that you need to rush or take lightly. Trust me, you want your investment to be worth it. Apply the tools that I have provided you with, trust yourself, work hard, and go get the major that you deserve.