Tips for freshmen in college

At a young age, Adam McCully became infatuated with stories – one might even say obsessed – and it’s his love of creating characters, structuring plots, and weaving ideas together that drove him to pursue a career in writing. A recent graduate of Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida in 2013, he received his B.F.A in Creative Writing for Entertainment. Whether he’s writing scripts or novels, flash fiction or poetry, blogging or creating digital content for various companies, he always does his best to make the material original, thought provoking, and entertaining. Adam has worked as a digital content creator, a marketer, an event coordinator, and has even spent some time as a cement finisher. Adam currently resides in Western Pennsylvania, where he lives with his lovely and talented wife, Shannon and his tiny dog, Kewter.

Picking the Right Major

Whether you’re a high school senior, a first-year freshman, or a slightly confused upper classman, picking a major that’s right for you can be a daunting task. There are just too many choices, right? And if you don’t pick the right major then you could end up in a career field that doesn’t pay well, or isn’t in high demand, or that you absolutely hate! You’re basically playing Russian roulette with your entire future!

If you’ve read this far and you feel the inklings of a mild to severe panic attack setting in, relax. An estimated 20 to 50 percent of students enter college as “undecided” and an estimated 75 percent of students change their major at least once before graduation (Gordon, 1995). In addition to researching your respective area of study as well as taking advantage of whatever career assessment services your university offers, here are a few pieces of advice from a former confused college student that might help you keep that stress level down.

• For Love or Money… or Both?

Everyone goes to college for two major reasons (two major educational reasons), you want a career that pays well and/or you want a career that you enjoy. You’ve probably heard the saying, “do what you love and the money will follow.” Well, that’s true to some degree. I’ve yet to find anyone who will pay me to take naps and play video games, but my search continues never the less. My advice is to find something you love and relate it to a career that comes with a certain level of financial security. Whatever you do, don’t pick a major you hate just because it offers a career in a high paying field. Chances are you won’t stick with it anyway.

• This Is Your Decision, Not Your Moms

If you don’t know this already, you’re about to find out that everyone you know – and some people you don’t – will throw in their two cents about your college experience. “You should take up engineering. There’s always a need for engineering.” “You should be a lawyer. Your uncle is a lawyer and look how well he’s doing.” “You would make a great surgeon. You’ve got the perfect hands for surgery.” I don’t even know what that last one means, but I swear it’s something I was told. The truth is, no one should pick a major for you except you. Don’t let one of the most important decisions of your life be made by someone else.

• Pick It and Stick It

There’s a really, really good chance that you’ll change your major at least once. That’s totally fine, but at some point you need to settle into one. Whichever path you choose will come with negative aspects, that’s a given. If you learn nothing else at college, it’s that nothing comes easy. Classes will get harder. Coursework will become more and more demanding. Stick it out and remember why you signed up for this in the first place. I can promise you that the rewards will be well worth the effort.

• Everyone Is Special In A Special Kind of Way… Rainbows, Kittens, Unicorns

You’re good at something. You’re probably good at many things. Everyone has certain areas where they excel and others where they fall behind. The point here is that doing something that you’re good at just feels better than struggling through something that you well… struggle with. Denying our natural abilities just makes life harder.

• Don’t Forget About Grad School!

Many students don’t know this but, as long as you meet the requirements, you can get a graduate degree in the field of your choosing. Of course, this will also mean more loans and more debt, but sometimes the ends justify the means. Especially when that graduate degree earns you a larger paycheck, or at least a career that you can be happy with.

Links:

https://www.bw.edu/resources/advise/Ten_Biggest_Mistakes.pdf

http://www.testq.com/education/quizzes/158-what-should-you-major-in

http://joboutlook.gov.au/careerquiz.aspx

http://www.careershifters.org/expert-advice/what-to-do-if-your-passion-doesnt-make-you-a-liveable-income

References:
Gordon, V. N. (1995). The undecided college student: An academic and career advising challenge (2nd. ed.). Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas.

Friedman, Liz. “The Developmental Disconnect in Choosing a Major: Why Institutions Should Prohibit Choice until Second Year.” The Mentor (2013). The Mentor. Web. 11 Mar. 2015. <http://dus.psu.edu/mentor/2013/06/disconnect-choosing-major/>.

Tips for freshmen in college 

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