Emelie graduated from the University of Arkansas with a BA in Editorial Journalism and a Spanish minor. She currently works as a writer in California
That pesky question everybody is so eager to ask you at the dinner table on Thanksgiving or Christmas—one you’ve probably already asked and answered to yourself a million times—What’s your major?
The truth is, it wouldn’t be such a pesky question if you knew exactly what you wanted to do with your life. Even when you think do, you are constantly second-guessing your choice, wondering if that’s the right one for you or if you’ll actually be successful doing what you love and so many other stressful questions your mind simply choses to add to the laundry-list of college problems.
From personal experience and lessons that came after making one or two—or maybe a thousand mistakes, I can tell you, a major doesn’t define you or what you’re capable of. We are constantly being led to believe it’s okay to categorize others based on their majors or what they studied in college, but you should never let a major define you.
If you really love doing something, go for it. Never-mind how much money means to you at the moment. All the money in the world is not going to make you love your job. Once it’s all said and done and you’ve got a diploma in your hands—it’s a different story and there is no reward in a routine-led lifestyle waking up every morning and going to a job you absolutely hate.
One of the best advices I ever heard was at a Condoleezza Rice Lecture. She was talking to students, saying, “take your time choosing a major, choose something you’ll love.” So if you have to choose “undecided” for a year or two, that’s okay. Get the requirements out of the way first, you can decide later. Good things rarely happen when you make life-long decisions in the spur of the moment. Choosing a major, is like getting a tattoo, there’s no laser removal for degrees, yet, I’m afraid.
You can always end up like 32 percent of college graduates who have never work in their related field or major, according to a survey by CBS news. Which means everything is going to be okay, even if you switch majors—once, twice or ten times—okay maybe don’t change majors ten times, but if you’ve gone far into a degree you thought you love and suddenly you’re not that into it anymore, don’t panic.
It’s always nice to have a degree in something you absolutely love and will love forever, but majors shouldn’t be such a stressor in your life that they take you away from your healthy, eating and sleeping habits—or at least your regular college habits.
Before you switch majors right when you’re about to graduate, find volunteer or on-campus job experiences in an area you’re more inclined to. More often than not, you will find it a nice surprise that, although you are eager to place that EDUCATION subtitle in you résumé, employers will look at your experience before they look at your degree.