Kennyrich Fomunung is a wordsmith, author, poet, and infotainer. An enthusiastic student of life, he has spent much of his young adult years learning through his own experiences, along with those of family, friends, acquaintances, and strangers alike. A graduate of the University of Houston, where he studied Communications and Psychology, he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations/Advertising in 2010. Kennyrich currently works as an entrepreneur, leveraging his God-given gifts and acquired insight to enrich the lives of others – literally and figuratively – via his writings, public speaking engagements, and other business ventures. He is currently pursuing a global MBA at the London campus of Hult International Business School.
So after ten or more essays, exciting but tiring college tours, recommendation letters and applications, you’ve finally decided on the college of your dreams…or the college one or both of your parents attended. Now what? Arguably even more difficult than deciding on which university to attend is choosing the right major once you’re there.
How does a seventeen or eighteen year old teenager decide what they want to do for the “rest of their lives?” It is obviously a major decision that can have significant consequences down the road. After all, the very practice of going to college is a major investment in yourself and your future. As you may be aware by now college (in America) is expensive, meaning this choice is probably the most expensive one you will make in your teens.
Many high school students have no idea what they want to do “when they grow up” and many freshmen college students spend that entire first year trying to figure it out. Some spend even longer. After all, part of the argument for going to college is that it represents the “best four years of your life”; it is a time of self-discovery, so you can afford to be patient. That notwithstanding, this is a decision you should make as soon as possible, but you must approach it strategically by thinking critically.
As one who started out as a pre-pharmacy major (courtesy of my parents), became a geology major by my second year, considered switching to industrial engineering by my third year, and on the way to submit the change of major form, wrote “Communications” instead, I can attest to how confusing this decision can be, even once you are in college. The good news for me is that my last choice proved to be the right one, as today I am a creative writer, poet, and published author, and I have worked in careers in communications. It took me a while to get to that point of course, and I made that decision partly on instinct but mostly because in my indecision I spent enough time reflecting on my strengths and weaknesses. So my advice to you is as follows:
1. Parental Advisory:
The truth is that while many of us in our teenage years, as we become more independent wish to depart from our parents in at least a few aspects of our own lives, especially career wise, they do have sound advice to give us. This is especially true if they are college educated and are fortunate enough to be working in the professions for which they studied. Obviously, for some students, their parents may not have a college education. In such a scenario their advice is still relevant since our parents naturally have our best interest at heart and may likely be helping us pay for our higher education, one way or another.
2. Personal SWOT Analysis:
This is where you look in the mirror and identify who you are; and ask yourself what are your strengths and weaknesses, what do you like or dislike? Furthermore, you must consider what are the (career) opportunities that your major of choice could deliver after graduation four or more years from your first day in college? Finally, you should also consider what threats or risks you might face if you chose one major over another. A useful deciding question is, will your eventual job reward you enough financially to cover the costs of your degree if you financed your degree by taking out student loans? And even if you got a full ride (scholarship) to college or your parents generously covered all your costs, would you be paid enough to live a comfortable life and be happy?
3. Role Models:
One of the most important things you can do in life is to learn from the mistakes and experiences of others. In addition to the research you do on potential careers you decide you are interested in when choosing your major, it is worth going a step further and finding a mentor, someone who studied what you may be thinking of studying and picking their brains. Ask them about their experiences finding a desirable job using the degree that resulted from the major they chose in college.
It is important to note that the influencers and motives for choosing one major over another will differ from student to student on a case by case basis. Nevertheless, the above points should serve as general guidelines to help you arrive at this decision in a well thought out manner. Finally, I’d like to leave you with these parting words of wisdom as you contemplate making the “right” choice: