Choosing a major can have lifelong consequences for career opportunities. It is also how you will choose to spend your time and energy for four (or so) years. Let’s set aside the expectations to figure out your entire future at 17 or 18. Instead, what does a major mean in your immediate future?
-It will dictate which classes you take
-It will choose who your classmates are
-It will demand the highest percent of your mental energy
When trying to decide a major, it can be tempting to choose engineering or finance for the prospective salary. However, if you didn’t like math or physics in high school, it is unlikely you will suddenly uncover your passion for equations amidst a lecture hall. Choosing pre-med because you like to help people seems to make sense. But how do you feel about biology and chemistry? If they were your favorite classes in high school, that bodes well for surviving organic chemistry.
It is important to weigh your post-college options as well as your experience during college. Here are some good questions to balance when considering majors.
-Will I enjoy the material I have to study in the classes on a daily basis?
-How do my skills line up with the requirements (math, writing, drama, etc.)?
-Did I enjoy similar classes in high school?
-Is there time to pursue other interests while in college, either extracurricular or academic?
Ultimately, “making money” and “saving the world” are good goals. In order to reach them, you have to answer the more mundane question, “Do I want to spend 40-100 hours a week of mental energy on the classes required for my major?”
Because that is what you’re going to do.