This blog post was written by College Forward student Anakaren Rivera. Anakaren is currently obtaining a B.S in Political Science at Concordia University.
Choosing a major can seem like the most significant decision you have to make leading up to college. Choosing my major became more manageable when I took a step back to look at what I want to bring to this world and my interests and passions. I didn’t research majors until my senior year of high school when it was coming down to choosing which school I would attend. Once I looked into the majors offered at the school, I chose Concordia University Texas.
Understanding Political Science
During the summer of my sophomore year of high school, my mom was in the process of becoming a citizen of the United States. I would attend all the meetings with her lawyer, help her study the test, and support her in any way. Before that, I had never heard of an “immigration lawyer” due to not being exposed to that career field until then. It was an eye-opening experience to go through that with my mom and see how much of an impact this career choice can make on someone’s life. I wanted to help people in the same way that lawyer helped my mom and, in reality, my whole family.
I always kept that experience in the back of my mind; when I was going through various majors to choose from, I came across political science, and it stood out to me. I researched more details about it and the different careers you could have. Public policy and reforms have interested me ever since I could remember, along with wanting to help make a change in someone’s life. I figured that was the major I would be most happy and passionate about.
How I Choose My Major
Along with that thought process, I was also looking at what this country needs right now in terms of educated people. At the time and still today, many issues have to do with politics or that politics could solve. So, while looking at this major, I thought about how I could best help, and that was by bringing more diversity and a younger mindset to the issues. Even if I don’t become a lawyer, I would still enjoy working in another career but in the same field.
I think it is important to recognize that when choosing a major. Even if you don’t end up working in the position you planned, you should be okay with working in another position but in the same field. For example, I would still be happy in the field even if I don’t get to be exactly what I want, just as long as I feel I am positively impacting this country and my field.
My best advice when choosing a major is to go with what you’re passionate about at the time. Once you get to school, your passions might change by taking different classes and being presented with so much information. Many schools make it easy to change your major within your first two years. Especially because those years are typically filled with general courses. Don’t get too stressed about choosing your lifetime career when you are only 17 or 18. Work hard and figure out what makes you happy. The key is the hard work aspect and finding happiness in what you do in the future. It will never be too late to pick up a new hobby you might find or a side hustle. But having your field of expertise and education to back it up makes you so much more credible. That was my thought process when picking my major, and everyone is going to have a different approach to choosing a major.
Researching Potential Majors
Researching different majors can be beneficial to helping you pick one too. I’m sure everyone has a major that they have thought about or similar ones that they can’t decide between. When researching possible majors, the main things to consider are whether it is a realistic career, how competitive the field is, and what the possible careers entail.
According to the staff writers of bestcolleges.com students tend to switch majors often. Sites like Best College can give you a great overview of what students are choosing to study in college. When researching my major I took major quizzes to see which best fit me, as well as asking people in college what they liked about their major, and doing further internet research on sites such as the college board site.
When doing research, you may also want to think through your major’s popularity to see if you would like to follow the trend or study something uncommon that maybe needs more professionals in the field. Bestcolleges.com also indicates which majors carry the highest employment rate. It states, “Employment rates will differ between professionals who enter the workforce with a bachelor’s and those who go on to earn a master’s degree or other advanced credentials.”
So, your major may not even determine how much you will make in the future but the amount of knowledge you choose to obtain in the field. That is more reason just to do what makes you happy and something you will find fulfillment in. I’m a big believer in life will guide you where you need to be, and choosing a field that makes you excited to get up every day and learn about it is a great place to start.
To sum up my experience: choosing a major is really trusting my gut and getting informed. That is truly all we can do no one is going to tell us what we love or what we will work for for the rest of our lives. It’s your job to take a leap and choose something that you see yourself doing. Along the way, you’ll figure out if it really is for you. Don’t stress it too much. In my experience, stressing a situation can cause you to make a decision you never wanted to make. Choose what makes you happy at that moment and the ball will start rolling from there.