3 Key Questions To Ask Yourself When Picking A Major

3 Key Questions To Ask Yourself When Picking A Major

What do you want to be when you grow up?
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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.

Good luck.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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It Took Me 4 Years And $100K To Realize Why Poor Kids Like Me Don’t Go To College

But now that I know, I can't get it out of my mind.

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I grew up poor.

There, I said it. It's out in the open now—I don't come from a family that has a bunch of money. In fact, my family doesn't have much money at all. My single mother works in fast food and does a DAMN good job trying to support herself and the rest of us. A lot of the food my family gets comes from food pantries. We have received government assistance before. I grew up poor, but I haven't let that define me.

Especially when it came to going to college.

I didn't want to let my economic background hold me back from my potential. I wanted to be the first person on both sides of my family to receive my college degree. I wanted to get a better paying job and moving up in socioeconomic status so I don't have to be the "poor" girl with the "poor" family all my life. I'm not really ashamed of coming from a poor family, but I also don't want to be poor my entire life.

For a majority of my college career, I wondered why there weren't many poor students around me at college. I go to a public university, and it's just the same price as any other state school really. Coming from a lower income home, I did receive a lot of assistance, and without it, there's no way in hell I could be here. I know that many other lower-income students can get this same assistance, which really made me wonder why there was such a lack of other poor kids around me.

I mean, everyone posts videos from their nice, upper-middle-class homes on Snapchat over holiday breaks while I go back home to the trailer park.

Everyone can call mom or dad and ask for money when things get rough while I pay for 100% of the things I own because my mother simply cannot afford it.

Everyone walks around in their name-brand clothes while I'm rocking Walmart knockoffs. It's not something I thought about for a couple years in college, but once I noticed it, I couldn't think of anything else.

It took me nearly all four years of college to realize why there's such a lack of poor students at my average, public university. Poor students are set up for failure in college. It's almost designed to be a survival of the fittest when it comes to us lower-income students, and those of us who are deemed the fittest and do make it to graduation day are typically stuck with a lot of debt that we don't have the financial intelligence or support to even think about paying off.

Poor students are in the minority in college, and when you're in a minority anywhere, surviving can be difficult. When it costs $100 just for a 5-digit code to do your homework, it can be hard to stay in school. When the cost of living on campus is $10,000 or rent for an apartment is nearly $500 a month, it can be hard to stay in school. When you don't have a car because you can't save up the money for one and your parents can't help you, it can be hard to stay in school. When you're forced to get a minimum wage, on-campus job that limits your to twenty hours a week, it can be hard to stay in school. When all of your friends don't understand why you can't go out to eat or to the bar every weekend, it can be hard to stay in school. All of these reasons add up to the main reason why poor kids don't go to college—the odds are stacked against us.

I never had shame in my socioeconomic status until I went to college. In my hometown, I wasn't much less than the norm. Now, my home life is drastically different than that of all of my friends. I know that this is something that is never going to change because when I enter the workforce in less than a year, I'll be going in as the first member of my family with a college degree. People will treat me differently when I tell them this, even if I don't want them to. People will treat me differently when they ask where my parents work and I tell them McDonald's. It's an unfortunate reality that I cannot control.

It took me nearly all four years to realize why poor kids don't go to college, but now that I know, I can't get it off my mind.

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Yes, Being A Girl Alone On A College Campus In 2018 Can Be Scary

There are things you should know for your own safety when you are a girl attending college.

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Sometime last week, I had a situation happen to me and I would like to help make sure other girls don't fall into a similar predicament. Going away to school for the first time is scary enough, but there are aspects of college that people only whisper about under their breath. In my case, there was no malicious attack and physical no damage done, but the repercussions still remain.

It was like any other night; I visited my boyfriend in his dorm room for a few hours after class while we worked on homework, but when it became late, I packed up my books, said goodnight, and left to get my car. Since I am technically a commuter student, I parked my car in the commuter lot conveniently next to his dorm. Most nights my boyfriend walks me back to my car, but on this night, he left his keys in the room and didn't want to be locked out of his building, so we parted ways at the door. It really hadn't crossed my mind that anything would happen- after all, it was a very short walk, the whole way was well lit, there was moderate traffic moving around the area even at that hour, and I wasn't in a situation I normally thought might get me in trouble. I used to only think girls would get into a bad situation walking off campus or at a party when alcohol was involved, not in the middle of campus on a week-night.

But even still, as I walked into the parking lot I felt uneasy. There was a group of guys cat-calling across the parking lot to girls as they walked to their car, hanging out in the corner in which I always park. In fact, I had to walk past them to get to my car.

Even still, I felt a bit safe because I looked like trash panda in my pajamas and I ignored them as I made a wide arch around where they were. Regardless of my previous securities, I was still approached by one of them. As he began harassing me, I did my best to ignore his advances and make my way to my car.

As he followed me to my car, he began asking me questions of my name, age, year, and phone number. As I tried to be polite and explain that I had just come from my boyfriend's, even showing him the picture of us I have saved as my phone lock screen, he pressed further to the point of telling me to put his phone number in my phone and call him.

At this point I knew I was very vulnerable- I didn't have my pocket knife on me and my key-chain alarm was in my car- so I tried to go along with his persistence and hoped he would leave me alone. Finally, appearing satisfied with his heckling, he told me he looked forward to me texting him and went back to his friend group.

Although brief, the altercation was nevertheless unsettling. No girl should be approached by a group of strangers to comment on how cute she is and demand her phone number. I did block the number and my boyfriend called the police to report the incident, but my hope is to prevent other girls from being caught in a vulnerable situation as well.

First, don't put yourself in a situation in which something out of your control may happen. My first mistake was walking alone at night into an unsupervised area. There are many situations that may pose a threat such as a parking lot, behind resident halls, streets that lead to off-campus housing, a parking garage, or poorly-lit walkways between buildings.

If you can, avoid walking by taking the bus, getting an Uber, or parking closer to the building you are in and only in a well-lit, supervised area. If walking is unavoidable, take someone with you or call someone and be really loud that you are on the phone! Even if you have no one to call (which I should hope you could call a parent or friend), pretend you are on the phone by talking to yourself; it might sound silly but it might save your life one day. Lastly, leave earlier so it is not night-time when you have to walk or stay the night.

Second, if you do get in a bad situation, despite your best attempts to follow my advice, you should be able to think quickly to keep the situation from escalating. For example, if there is someone walking nearby, call out to them! Pretend like you are good friends, and leave the situation with them. Another way

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