Choosing a major

Shannon is a recent graduate of the University of Arizona and a third generation Wildcat. She received her Bachelors of Science in Marketing and graduated Summa Cum Laude.
She worked in the student government office, held leadership positions in multiple clubs, and interned with TJX Corporation and Arizona Athletics during college.
Shannon currently works in the financial planning world as a Corporate Trainer.

The age -old question
The question every five-year-old is asked in Kindergarten is “What do you want to be when you grow up?” At that age, astronaut or rock star are more common responses than accountant or salesperson. As you get older, the question is the same, though responses might get a little more realistic. At five, I was sure I would be a Firefighter/Hairdresser/Ballerina. At ten I had changed to Writer. At fifteen I said Biosystems Engineer. And when I graduated high school I was aiming for Accountant. What I do now has nothing to do with any of these answers. Deciding what you will do with the rest of your life at 17 or 18 isn’t realistic, nor is it easy. You haven’t seen enough of the world to know what your passion is, what you’re good at, or even what you could stand to do for 8 or 9 hours a day. And that’s ok.
What do you NOT like to do?
This was by far the easiest question for me to answer. My parents both have engineering backgrounds, and nothing they talked about at the dinner table interested me in the slightest. I couldn’t explain what they did, and didn’t care to. I didn’t struggle at math or science, but I didn’t love learning how things worked and could care less about fixing them/improving them. By scratching off those areas you find snooze-worthy, you can shorten the list of options.
What interests do you have?
Thinking through what you like to do in your spare time can be very helpful when picking a major. Whether it’s talking to people or reading books or watching movies, it can be a part of what you study. I enjoy convincing others to see my side (ahem…arguing) and craft projects. Marketing fit those—why should someone buy a product, and how can we make it look appealing? Though it may not correspond directly, having something to look forward to in your curriculum makes that homework seem a little more manageable.
Who do you know with a job that sounds fun?
Work should be fun, and so should your major (to an extent). You won’t love every single aspect to your day, but the pros should outweigh the cons. Try to find someone you know, directly or indirectly, that has a career that peaks your interest. You can work backwards from there to find out the education and experience they have that got them there. You might be able to shadow them for a couple of days to see what they do. Ask them questions too! The more you know before you start down that path, the better.
The (un)final decision
Once you declare, nothing is set in stone. Changing your major is not the end of the world, no matter how far along you are. Freshman year is all about exploring new places and ideas. You won’t be the first to ask your advisor about switching, and I can guarantee someone will be in their office after you for the same reason. Even if you graduate with a degree in a specific major, that does not pigeonhole you into a certain job or career. Think through what you do and don’t like, keep an open mind, and just learn as much about everything that you possibly can. That’s what college is all about!

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