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victoriaheidi
01-28-2012, 07:42 PM
As I've mentioned before, I'm a first-year student at an American university. I entered last semester as a declared communication major, but realized that this was not right for me and switched to undecided.

I have to decide by the end of next semester (Fall 2012) because I came into school with advanced standing credit (thank you, APs :rolleyes:) and need to declare by the end of my sophomore year.

I just have NO idea what to declare. Like, I've spoken to advisors, adults I trust, my sorority sisters...I just don't know at all. I've considered a lot of different programs, but I haven't truly found anything that makes me want to spend an extended period of time devoting my studies to that field.

I know what I'm passionate about, but it's not something I'll be studying in college. So I need to pick a major, and I just have no clue where to start.

So I guess I have a bunch of questions here. For those of you who went to uni, how did you pick you major or field of study? What advice do you have for someone who's completely clueless about what to pick? And (this is huge) what part of this field (if any) did you just have to "slug through"?

If anyone wants to know where specifically I go to school (if that changes your answer or something, I don't know) feel free to private message me.

Thank you all!

agalisgv
01-28-2012, 08:21 PM
Maybe you could say more about what you've studied so far, what you've liked, what you haven't, what particular aspects of courses/fields you've enjoyed so far, and the particular aspects of courses/fields you haven't enjoyed, and what you would like to do career wise in the future.

Also, forgive me--I don't remember when you are from. But your expressions indicate you perhaps went to high school outside the US. Where did you do your high school work, and what was your focus there?

overedge
01-28-2012, 08:24 PM
A few questions back at you:
- Do you have to choose just one major? Is it possible for you to do a joint major, a major and a minor, or some other combination where you're not limited to focusing on just one field?
- Are there majors or some other form of focused study that might not relate directly to your passion, but which would help you pursue it? (e.g. management courses if you like working in not-for-profit organizations)
- And finally....and don't take this the wrong way, but.....if you have to decide what you want to major in, but nothing really appeals to you, why are you in university? Why not take some time out pursuing what interests you, and then come back when you have a clearer idea of what would match your interests or help you do what you want to do? It seems like it could be a huge waste of your time and $$$$ if you complete a degree in something you're not really interested in, just because you "have to".

danceronice
01-28-2012, 08:37 PM
A few questions back at you:
- Do you have to choose just one major? Is it possible for you to do a joint major, a major and a minor, or some other combination where you're not limited to focusing on just one field?

Yep--look into majors that sound a little vague, maybe. ;) My grad school had a department called American Studies (it was one option for our academic concentration for the Museum Studies degree.) It had a mix of history, material culture, folk life, anthropology type courses. Heck, Museum Studies was available for undergrad majors--we got a mix of our academic cores (I did interdisciplinary, with American Studies, Slavic Studies, and Anthropology/Achaeology) and specialist classes in museum studies, including business management courses geared to non-profits. The undergrad program was basically the same, only starting with 100 level courses.



- And finally....and don't take this the wrong way, but.....if you have to decide what you want to major in, but nothing really appeals to you, why are you in university? Why not take some time out pursuing what interests you, and then come back when you have a clearer idea of what would match your interests or help you do what you want to do? It seems like it could be a huge waste of your time and $$$$ if you complete a degree in something you're not really interested in, just because you "have to".

I understand coming in, declaring a major, and then deciding that's not what you want to do, but yeah, if the deadline is coming up and you're still at a complete loss, see about a year off, maybe? Unless you have a lot of gen-ed credits to fill, you'll be spending a lot of money and maybe not getting the courses you need.

victoriaheidi
01-28-2012, 09:11 PM
1. agalisgv-sorry, I was simultaneously discussing this with you guys and a British friend who is younger and always refers to it as "uni," so I've taken to her habit. :p I'm from California, and I've always studied in the States. :)

But anyway, I haven't really been crazy about my college courses at this point (mostly GEs, with the occasional "potential major/potential elective" thrown in).

2. overedge-maybe. I'm not 100% sure I'll be able to fit in two majors and still stay within SAP (Satisfactory Academic Progress) units for financial aid. But a major and a minor is probably a possibility, and I know that, if I can fit one in, I want to minor in screenwriting (my school doesn't offer a BA in screenwriting, or I'd probably just declare that, since I know I want to minor in it). Nonetheless, I still need to pick a major.

My parents (who are very generously assisting with my education) and I have discussed the potential for semesters off, etc. multiple times, but we always come to the same conclusion: there is no advantage to me taking a semester off unless I have something else to do. If I do, that's great, and I would pretty much guarantee that I'll take a semester off, but at this point, that's not the case.

RockTheTassel
01-28-2012, 09:20 PM
And finally....and don't take this the wrong way, but.....if you have to decide what you want to major in, but nothing really appeals to you, why are you in university? Why not take some time out pursuing what interests you, and then come back when you have a clearer idea of what would match your interests or help you do what you want to do? It seems like it could be a huge waste of your time and $$$$ if you complete a degree in something you're not really interested in, just because you "have to".

This is a good thing to consider. I'm in university as well, and I know some students who are about to graduate with a degree in a field that doesn't really interest them, won't get them a job, and will be difficult to pay for. It's not a good place to be in. Taking a year off from school may not sound appealing, but it can be worthwhile. I spent a year taking a few gen-eds at a community college, working part-time, and living at home. By doing this, I saved money and figured out what goals I had and how I would achieve them. You say you know what you're passionate about, but it's not something you can study in college. Is working towards what you're passionate about instead of being in college a possibility?

A few people have told me that the most important thing is figuring out what you want to do for a career, not just what major looks interesting. College is a few years, but you're going to have to work in your field for most of your life. Thinking about what kind of job you'd like and how/if college will help you get it might help.

And best of luck. :) I know figuring out what to do in life can be really difficult sometimes.

victoriaheidi
01-28-2012, 09:22 PM
This is a good thing to consider. I'm in university as well, and I know some students who are about to graduate with a degree in a field that doesn't really interest them, won't get them a job, and will be difficult to pay for. It's not a good place to be in. Taking a year off from school may not sound appealing, but it can be worthwhile. I spent a year taking a few gen-eds at a community college, working part-time, and living at home. By doing this, I saved money and figured out what goals I had and how I would achieve them. You say you know what you're passionate about, but it's not something you can study in college. Is working towards what you're passionate about instead of being in college a possibility?

A few people have told me that the most important thing is figuring out what you want to do for a career, not just what major looks interesting. College is a few years, but you're going to have to work in your field for most of your life. Thinking about what kind of job you'd like and how/if college will help you get it might help.

And best of luck. :) I know figuring out what to do in life can be really difficult sometimes.

My parents and I have gone back and forth on this. I've already been working AND doing school full-time. It's tough, but I get why I'm doing both.

milanessa
01-28-2012, 09:37 PM
My parents and I have gone back and forth on this. I've already been working AND doing school full-time. It's tough, but I get why I'm doing both.

You asked for advice but you don't seem very open minded about anything anyone has to say. :confused:

overedge
01-28-2012, 09:52 PM
My parents (who are very generously assisting with my education) and I have discussed the potential for semesters off, etc. multiple times, but we always come to the same conclusion: there is no advantage to me taking a semester off unless I have something else to do. If I do, that's great, and I would pretty much guarantee that I'll take a semester off, but at this point, that's not the case.

Well, with all due respect, it seems that you're boxing yourself in. You don't feel strongly enough about anything to major in it, but you don't feel you can take some time off from school if you don't have "something else to do". Isn't taking a semester off and figuring out what you REALLY want to pursue "something else to do"?

Your world is not going to fall apart and your future career is not going to be derailed forever if you take a few months away from school to consider your options. FWIW spending four years and however many $$$$ majoring in something you don't really care about is going to be a lot more damaging to your future progress.

victoriaheidi
01-28-2012, 10:08 PM
You asked for advice but you don't seem very open minded about anything anyone has to say. :confused:

I'm sorry, I'm sorry. That really isn't my goal. The thing is that I can't take time off. Let's just leave that option off the table for now. I just need to keep digging, I guess. I don't know. I really don't know what to do or say, so I figured I'd give this a shot, but I'm realizing that there aren't any easy answers here, and it's even harder when you're on a public message board and can't post all the information you want to.

But thank you all. :) I guess I will just have to keep plugging along.

milanessa
01-28-2012, 11:19 PM
No need to be sorry. It's just hard for anyone to help when things are so vague. Hope everything works out for you.

Theatregirl1122
01-29-2012, 12:45 AM
It would be more helpful if you told us what you actually were interested in and what your skills were.

For example, I was a math major. But that isn't a major that most people just pick up unless they are good at math.

Rob
01-29-2012, 01:05 AM
I had no idea what to major in, but I took some classical studies courses and loved both the material and the professors. So I majored in it. What kind of job might you get with that? Don't ask me, but I liked it so I got good grades in it, and I got into law school. I wasn't one of a gazillion political science majors trying to get into law school, and I think that helped.

michiruwater
01-29-2012, 01:29 AM
I knew from age 3 or so that I was going to major in music.

If I hadn't, I had about 10 other things I was (and am) really interested in.

But there are thousands and thousands of majors to choose from these days. I agree that it would be a lot more helpful if we had any idea what you were interested in.

And as for the thing you can't major in but want to do some day - is there no college major that will help you in that vocation or field? I'm sure there has to be at least one that can make you more marketable.

orbitz
01-29-2012, 02:31 AM
I know what I'm passionate about, but it's not something I'll be studying in college. So I need to pick a major, and I just have no clue where to start.


Can you transfer to another college or a specialty school, i.e. Parson School of Design, that has a program for what you're passionate about? If not then how about a major that will indirectly benefit your future. For example, writing and oral communication are always transferable skills, regardless of what your future job might be.



So I guess I have a bunch of questions here. For those of you who went to uni, how did you pick you major or field of study? What advice do you have for someone who's completely clueless about what to pick? And (this is huge) what part of this field (if any) did you just have to "slug through"?


I think you still have some time to take classes outside of your current major that might interest you. Do that and see if it sparks any interest. Some students immediately know what they want to major in. Some picks the "Hot" majors because of potential financial reward. Others have no clue and are just in college because that's expected of them. There can be so many reasons why one pick to major in something. I hope you do find something that not only you're passionate about but also it can translate into an actual job.