College. While the classes are hard, and the first steps of adulting can be challenging, the large thought dwelling on most college student’s minds is that it may all be for nothing. College being expensive is an understatement, so not wanting to waste your time is a real stressor.
There are so many paths to take in college. But it’s okay to be confused. You recently received the right to go to the bathroom without asking, and now you need to decide the rest of your life? If you’re anything like me, you still freeze while ordering in a restaurant and in a panic order something you definitely do not want. So deciding a major, basically deciding your future, is frightening.
For example, the Ohio State University has more than 200 majors. So how do you choose? I have found that starting with these three cliché questions can get you started.
1. What are you interested in?
Are you a science person? An English/ history person? A politics person? A technology person? A people person? A business person?
I think this is one of the major pieces of advice we have been given as a generation. But what are you actually passionate about? What do you nerd out in?
2. What are you talented in?
I think when people stop at interests or “passions,” they are missing a crucial part-- what would people pay you to do?
I mean in an idealistic world, we’d all love to be paid to watch Netflix or bake mediocre cookies and eat them. But in order to pick your major and career, you need to separate hobbies from future career interests. Living in any competitive society means that finding where you can contribute to a business or society is necessary. Especially in a world competing with technology, what can you do that few others can or are willing to do? What jobs are in demand? These are difficult but necessary questions for you to answer.
3. What job do you see yourself in?
Your major has to be a stepping stone or a foundation you can use for a job. Some people decide their job first and work backward to a major. Some people decide the job along the way.
But orienting yourself in your future with job ideas can help narrow your choices into possibilities.
Of all three questions, I think this is the question that is hardest to separate from outside pressures. There are so many factors and often accidental pressures of what our future paths will look like, from those who can’t separate success from the path to acquiring it to limiting your possibilities based on fear of judgment from others.
I struggled with an opposite problem. As a girl in 2018, I felt like I was cheating or somehow not realizing my full potential by deciding on the ultimate white girl job: teaching. But there is a difference between the stigma around a job and the job in itself. Success isn’t limited to a few fields but to the work ethics at achieving in any field.
As a college student, analyzing your future can be difficult and stressful. But the truth is that, according to the Department of Labor, the average person will change careers 5-7 times during their working life. Careers are often not stagnant; while they are obviously important, they don’t determine the rest of your life.