What should you major in?
How do you decide what to major in? This could be the biggest decision of your life that you ever need to take. You might decide to take a major in college by choosing your favorite subject or by looking at the highest graded subject on your marksheet or maybe by looking at your peer group’s choices or maybe by looking at the trending major that the herd is following because they believe it can secure a better future. But are these the correct reasons to choose your specialized area of study? While choosing your major, can you be sure of what you will be doing in 20 years from now?
The world is changing at a break-neck pace when it comes to societal changes and technological changes. Therefore you neither predict nor guarantee how the future of the world is going to change and what role you will play in it. A lot of people might warn you, advise you, and show you how taking up a particular subject or stream can change your life. But in the end, you have to weigh out every option and choose the best for yourself. Because choosing the right major might dictate where you end up in your career. And suddenly it is not about choosing just your major but deciding your ultimate fate. Although a lot of people’s work shape-shifts in unforeseeable ways. Many graduates find jobs that have nothing to do with what they studied in college. A study shows that almost every twenty-something switches jobs once every three years and on an average a lot of people change their career fields two to three times in their lifetime.
You will have to separate your goals from other people’s goals for you. How do you quiet the noise that is coming at you from your friends, family or from the people you respect? People suggesting you to be a lawyer, join medical, or to take the stream as major that defines ‘success’ only in terms of pay checks. Maybe the voice inside your head is saying that you are not smart enough or it is not what you want to do. Sometimes it is okay to reject the advice and decide on something completely 180 degrees opposite of it.
Out of several factors, the main factor to consider while you choose your specialized area of study is where your interests lie. Many people might have advised you to follow your passion. But for you, you discover a passion and it grows over time. Therefore, you can’t follow your passion unless you know what is it and experience it thoroughly. Here you have to understand where do your interests lie.
Which is the subject that you are constantly looking up on Google and never miss out on any information, the subject that interests you at any time of the hour, or the subject that you are master of and can beat any trivia quiz on that. That is the subject you should take up as your major. This is the first independent decision of your academic and professional life. Can you imagine doing a work that does not interest you? Do you think you can justify that job without interest or complete confidence? No, Right? Hence, take your decision only after considering where your interests lie. Once you find out about your interests, you can go forward with researching more about the colleges that provide the best education on that particular subject or stream.
When you think about how to pick your major, it makes sense to consider what kind of job prospects you will have once you have your degree. Will you be able to find a job? How hard will it be? Will you have to move to where the jobs are or are there jobs everywhere? It is also important to look at the future employability prospects.
You can research about that specific course and find out about the current market scenario to understand a few things like- how many jobs are available in this field? What is the growth potential? Where are the jobs? How getting a job in this field can change your life? While the research you do would be far from foolproof because predicting job shortages and growth isn’t 100% accurate, but it can still provide essential information that will give you at least a general idea of whether you are likely to find a job easily or whether it will take more work and require more flexibility on your part.
Whether you are attracted to a field because of its promising prosperity or because you feel excited and enthusiastic about it, you have to determine if the expectations match reality. You will have to put your decision in a real-world context. Also, you have to be extremely good at whatever you want to do to ace in the field and to be able to grab every opportunity that may come your way. The market might dip, you might fail at a venture that you wanted to badly succeed in and you might have to change your complete career path plan because you realise the reality is not how you envisioned it to be. Factors like these would force you to bend, contort or even redesign your ideal. But there’s no epiphany; it’s a collection of small decisions that move you step by step and open doors for you to reach new heights in life.
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