Choosing a Major

Maureen Federo is a Script Supervisor within the filmmaking industry in New York City. She writes articles on artwork for individual artists’ promotional use, and as a hobby, enjoys watching hours of television critiquing filmmakers’ strategies and storytelling.

DON’T WORRY ABOUT IT! Choosing a major may seem stressful and make you feel like it will determine the rest of your life. But it is not like that at all!
When it was time to choose my major I felt I was not ready to make a decision. I took many different classes during my freshmen year and had enjoyed them all, however, I could not make up my mind. But the first question I asked myself was, What subject I absolutely enjoy the most? I looked at my transcript and noticed I had taken a lot of literature courses that involved reading and writing. My next question was, How did I feel in the classrooms? The material I was given was very intriguing and I enjoyed hearing other students’ thoughts and learning from them during class discussions. In a way, taking English courses made me feel free to express myself and my way of thinking. I was able to notice how much I grew intellectually in such a short amount of time and how natural it felt to me to do so. With these things in mind, deciding on a major became my first step in choosing a liberal path.
Few students walk into college knowing exactly what they want to do and what career path they want to pursue. That is why when it comes to choosing courses freshmen year, it is essential to broaden ones horizons. Do not be afraid of challenging yourself, but at the same time, do not limit yourself to what you already know. It is important to try new things because of all the benefits it can bring to your learning experience. You never know what courses you may end up enjoying, the people you come across and what obstacles you overcome. Most importantly, it is always valuable to step out of one’s comfort zone. For instance, I was not very good with memory. Knowing this about myself, I decided to improve on this weakness by taking an art history course my freshmen year. In this course, for an exam, I was expected to memorize at least one hundred images of paintings. I had to know the title of each painting, the artist, the year it was made and the century. I used index cards as my strategy, which worked very well for me. I enjoyed this course so much, I minored in art history.
Many first-years struggle with what is expected of them. Their train of thought may go along the lines of, I need to major in a field that allows me to earn a lot of money and live a comfortable life where I can retire in my 50’s or 60’s. However, what is overlooked is, if you have enough passion and stand for something that you truly believe in and love doing, the money will follow. Not only will you be able to enjoy doing something you love, you open a path for yourself where you have the liberty to make as many choices you want and self-build on any task you set for yourself. Choosing a major is more about what field will allow you to grow the most and not feel limited to the opportunities that come across your path.
The great thing about college is having professors who can back you up whenever you need them to. Professors are very supportive and pick up on special talents their students have. Most of the time you will not know what you are good at until someone points it out to you. Professors have a lot of experience and they appreciate the effort students put into their work. Talking consistently with your professors is key to having someone help you brainstorm and develop yourself within the field of your choice.
For those students who absolutely have no idea what they want to do, just ask yourself, What do you feel most passionate about? Interacting with others who help you define who you are is the greatest advantage one can have as a college student. There are many activities and organizations you can join and be a part of, which can serve to your advantage. If you find there is nothing you can join, create your own organization. The more you work on your leadership, the more confident you will feel about what you want to pursue. Then you may see choosing a major as an asset in working towards being the person you want to be and the work you want to accomplish.
Pick a field you feel is a huge part of you. It is not about being the smartest at everything, it is about believing in something that creates meaning to you. It is about choosing a field you can see yourself growing as an individual and creating your own path. It is about choosing your freedom.

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