It is a stressful decision to finally declare a major to your school, family, and friends. While in my university's undecided program, I discovered there are certain epiphanies that you make during the deciding process.
Jim Carrey, a comedian and actor, gave serious advice during his commencement speech for Maharishi University of Management in 2014. Jim Carrey expressed exactly what I realized over the span of a year. His words can be used as an inspirational guide to help undecided students choose a career path.
(All quotes are from Jim Carrey, a majority of them directly from the speech.)
“How will you serve the world? What do they need that your talent can provide? That’s all you have to figure out.”
The first step is to recognize your talent and your passion. Decide the most basic form of what you love doing and what you can stand doing in a work environment. Are you creative, technical, intelligent, social, helpful, curious, or organized?
Next you must find your mission. What can you do to make the world a better place? What will fulfill your personal happiness? Missions are similar to career dreams. They start with "I want to...(help or heal or invent or build or solve or save or explore or defend or teach or entertain or inspire)."
What is worth your time? For Carrey, he wanted to share humor and love. He said the purpose of his life is to "free people from concern." If you have chosen your true talent and passion, your mission will easily follow and become the driving force behind your future major and career.
"So many of us choose our path out of fear disguised as practicality. What we really want seems impossibly out of reach and ridiculous to expect, so we never dare to ask the universe for it."
Scared of the future? Are you tempted to study a "practical" major to get a "practical" job because that is what everyone expects you to do?
How about doing the thing you love instead? Don't go into a major you dislike because it is practical. You don't want to grow old and realize that you hate your career and you have wasted half of your life on it. Go after your dream job.
“I learned many great lessons from my father, not the least of which, was that you can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.”
Carrey told a story of how his father chose a safe, conservative job as an accountant when he could have been a great comedian, yet his father was still let go from his safe job.
Who says a "practical" job is financially stable? Practicality isn't a safety net. Failure is a possibility in any job. Money is helpful but it may not last and isn’t as fulfilling as a well-lived life. You might as well be passionate about what you do in a world where nothing is certain. Ambition and passion go hand in hand.
“As far as I can tell, it’s just about letting the universe know what you want and then working toward it while letting go of how it comes to pass.”
Regardless of if you believe in the universe, you must believe in yourself and your own accomplishments to work toward your mission. Even if you are undecided on a major or career, you have already determined your talent, passion, and mission. Now build them up.
Start working toward your mission, big or small. Use your passion for energy. Practice your talent and make it stronger. Study, learn, and be the best at what you do. In general terms, you have to build a strong resume and portfolio because that will aid you in getting a job.
“Your job is not to figure out how it’s going to happen for you, but to open the door in your head and when the doors open in real life, just walk through it. Don’t worry if you miss your cue.”
Eventually all of your hard work will open opportunities, but you can neither foresee the future nor control it. You may be scared of missing out on something, but don't dwell on that. Keep an open mind and don't let fear control you. You have to be brave and be prepared to take opportunities when they arise, whether it is a personal project, internship, or job.
"You can spend your whole life imagining ghosts and worrying about the pathway to the future but all there will ever be is what's happening here and the decisions we make in this moment."
"I can tell you from experience, the effect you have on others is the most valuable currency there is."
Unsurprisingly, your fellow classmates in the same major will be the people you want to surround yourself with so don't stray away from them. Make professional connections with professors, enjoy the people you work with, and appreciate the peers in your clubs. Always search for new friends and beneficial relationships because you will get fulfillment out of those valuable people. A positive social life will help you to live well and be kind, happy, and free.
"Your need for acceptance can make you invisible in this world. Don't let anything stand in the way of the light that shines through this form. Risk being seen in all of your glory."
Throughout this process, you have to remember your mission. We fear failure but any other self-doubt is your confidence wavering. Everyone has different paths they are on, so if you feel alienated in your unique experiences just remember the strength of your passion and let it fuel your confidence.
"I really believe in the philosophy that you create your own universe. I’m just trying to create a good one for myself."
If you have chosen a major and end up not liking it, then get away. If you are unhappy with your path, then make changes to fix the problem. You have to take action to fix the wrongs in your life. It is up to you to pursue the goals, activities, and people which will create a good life for you.
"What you do in life chooses you. You can choose not to do it. You can choose to try to do something safer. You’re vocation chooses you."
You can ignore your heart and follow practicality, but your calling, your mission never goes away. Carrey said, "If you give up on your dreams, what's left?" You will always feel the pull of them and what you yearn to do. Make life simple. Follow it.