View Full Version : How did you decide what to major in?
09-30-2003, 12:45 PM
I'm about to finish up my associates degree in Business Administration. During the summer semester, I came to the realization that I didn't want to major in business anymore. I just don't like it enough. So I'm trying to figure out what I do want to do.
So I come to you all to ask, how did you decide what to major in? Any suggestions would be most welcome.
09-30-2003, 12:46 PM
Dart toss, mostly.
09-30-2003, 01:09 PM
I was writing a book and I got a computer to type it on. My book really sucked, but I had a talent for programming. So I went to college for it.
09-30-2003, 03:03 PM
Well, when I was very small may dad taught me how to make some basic explosives. I decided that I really liked figuring how how to make large amounts of fire, but that I wanted to get paid for it. The career path that was most closely associated with that was Chemical Engineering.
The other major was more whim like, I like reading philosophy and thinking about it and writing about it but I will do none of the above unless some outside force is applied. I'm happy as a clam to read/think/write about many other topics all on my own, but I figured out that if I wanted to learn any philosophy, I'd have to put myself in a position where other people were telling me to.
General major selection note: Go for what you enjoy. Majors (outside of the professional ones, and even a lot of those) have little to do with what you end up doing as a job. Pick something you love, do it well, go on from there. The last thing anyone needs in their beloved Advanced Thermodynamics class is some whiner pissing and moaning about how much they hate math but they need this class for the major that they also hate.
09-30-2003, 03:05 PM
I've been writing computer code since age 9. Picking a major was trivially easy. :)
09-30-2003, 03:09 PM
I started in Electrical Engineering but failed miserably as I was under the impression that we would be playing with wires and lights all day, not trying to understand really fucking hard math. One of my good friends was in Computer Science. The first 2 years of both majors are nearly the same.
Computers is fun.
09-30-2003, 03:28 PM
I didn't decide until my junior year, after taking a whole mess of classes that ended up not counting for anything. I had an idea my freshman year of what I wanted to do and what I didn't want to do, but just picking one made me really nervous. I decided on economics after taking a lot of business, history, and music classes because that is just what I liked best. I knew if I pursued a business degree I would have hated life. To be happy, you really should just do something you are interested in and enjoy doing. Odds are you won't end up in a career that is tailored exactly to your major, but you can't really help that. Talk to a counselor, too. If you have an idea of something else you would like to do, talk to the counselor for that school about career options and requirement and what have you.
09-30-2003, 04:09 PM
I'm like rjung: it wasn't hard for me to figure out what my major would be. (Deciding to add a second major on the other hand, came about as a last minute "what the hell" decision.)
I figured that I may as well get paid for something I like to do.
<< All computers wait at the same speed. >>
09-30-2003, 04:27 PM
Took some classes in a lot of subjects (for example: Math, English, Physics, Religion, Political Science, Modern Languages, Theater, Anthropology)... chose the major of the classes I enjoyed the most (Anthropology).
09-30-2003, 04:48 PM
I started in English, because I like writing. I took Intro to Psychology, loved it, knew a bunch of Psych majors, changed to Psych. Loved all my Psych classes. Dropped out of school. Went back. Turns out to finish with a degree in Psych, I'd have to take another semester or two over what I already need to work in all the labs and stuff. Switched back to English (Creative Writing) and took a Psych minor.
At least, that's as of today.
09-30-2003, 04:51 PM
I was in high school working as a library aide.
We had a small tv studio, and one day I was asked to help out.
I walked around the rest of the day in a daze, planning my future.
I went to college, got a degree in radio/tv broadcasting, and I am working in my field.
09-30-2003, 05:33 PM
I was in college for 13 years. (Hey, it was a long war, alright?) I kept changing majors to fit my current interests. When I finally got serious about getting my degree, I went into a counsellor's office, tossed my transcript on her desk, and said "What am I closest to?"
So I ended up with a degree in Social Sciences (Anthropology major, and a dual History/Sociology minor). It has served me well these last 17 years as a high school teacher.
09-30-2003, 05:54 PM
I originally had randomly chose History as my major because I found it interesting and had English as my minor because I was good at it.
Then, early in my junior year, I took a cab from my school (NIU) to Ohare airport and the driver was telling me how he had a History degree from NIU. The next week, I switched and became an English major.
09-30-2003, 06:01 PM
I like chemistry and biology in high school. I also like money and making stuff. Thus I became a chemical engineer. Plus there's opportunities for management positions later on.
Not In Anger
09-30-2003, 07:01 PM
I had a friend I hung around with since I was five years old. When we were 19, a mutually friend committed suicide very horribly. He went to U to major in psychology to help people. I followed suit, but changed to sociology on the belief that most maladaptive behavior is learned, so the thing to do is change what is learned in the first instance, rather than cure the person at the last.
Today, my pal's a psychiatrist, and distributes drugs as indicated. I work for the government, and distribute funds as indicated. That's all I have to say.
09-30-2003, 07:19 PM
Well, I was going to be a bio-chem major, but I didn't do all that well in my classes, so I switched to an English major. Then my brother graduated with an English major and started working at Wal-Mart, so I switched to history. Then I realized that I could get two BS's for the price of one, and switched to Theatre and History. This was all in my first year. I graduated with a Technical Theatre degree, with a minor in history. Now I make an ok living working in theatre, and I sometimes wonder how much money I could be making with that Bio-Chem thing. Aahh, whatever. I'm happy.
09-30-2003, 07:19 PM
Complete and total accident. After changing majors from engineering to journalism to history to psychology and back to engineering, I almost literally fell into architecture. Haven't looked back since.
09-30-2003, 07:29 PM
A few years ago, while working at a book store, I picked up a book called "The Story of Philosophy" (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0671739166/qid=1064968191/sr=2-1/ref=sr_2_1/103-8191183-7861423) on a whim. I enjoyed reading it more than I thought I would - there were all sorts of problems I'd never thought about, but some that I had, and it was quite the revelation to find that far greater minds than mine had reflected on these things too. I really, really wanted to be a philosopher. (Hah!) About that time I fell into Ayn Rand by accident; I luckily escaped with an intact intellect, but I don't think I'll ever shake a commitment to libertarianism and a predisposition to an egoistic ethics.
So I'm majoring in philosophy and economics. I might drop the philosophy - who knows; every time I consider doing so I remember how much I like the subject. I'm trying to be practical. Hell, if I could go back and do it all over again, I might be a math major. It's too late for that now.
09-30-2003, 07:31 PM
I always knew I wanted to minor in technical writing, the major wasn't offered. My major was a little different. I started in business, changed to engineering, and finally to english. I graduate in two more semesters and don't see myself changing again! LOL
09-30-2003, 07:46 PM
I worked hard in HS so when I graduated I had the pick of 99% of possible uni courses.
I didn't know what I wanted to do professionally, so I decided to do my degree in things I like. I'm doing a dual degree, and I will end up with dual bachelors degrees:
Bachelor of Business Management (Tourism Management) / Bachelor of Arts (Chinese and Journalism)
I love travelling, so I picked tourism.
I learnt Chinese in HS, and it's useful to have a language in tourism, so I'm studying Chinese.
It would be my dream to write for Lonely Planet, or any sort of travel journalism, so I'm studying journalism. (Although I'm not enjoying it; I just don't like news reporting, which is the focus.)
I like the fact that I will have a base of business management knowledge when I graduate, so if I decide I don't like what I'm doing I can change to some other business enivronment.
09-30-2003, 08:17 PM
i dont know. i decided on nursing because it only requires an A.S. degree, has a liveable salary and you can work part time & 3rd shift, but im having second thoughts. i think i belong in the hard sciences because i feel more at home in them. chemistry, biochemistry, biology, anatomy, engineering, etc. Plus i'd want an advanced medical degree (but not med school) someday.
ive honestly never seriously looked at 80% of the majors out there, which makes me wonder what all im missing.
09-30-2003, 08:58 PM
I initially picked Business / Accounting because it was considered a practical and marketable skill, rather than it being something I might enjoy. MISTAKE. Deep down, I knew it, but I kept on.
I began listening to Roy Orbison music in college. One day, I bumped into a stranger in the parking lot because he was jamming Orbison and dancing alone in the parking lot on campus.
He asked my major. I told him business. He said, "Man, what a watse."
It hit me like a rock. The next day, I changed to Political Science and I enjoyed it very much.
Then, I went to law school. I struggled through Tax and Corporations, and I enjoyed Election Law and Administrative Law. Now I'm a BUSINESS litigator. D'oh! It sucks the life out of me every day.
I'm hoping to transition to something more government related now that I've moved to Sacramento.
The moral: DO WHAT YOU ENJOY!
09-30-2003, 09:00 PM
I took a Religion class my second quarter, freshman year, and that was it. Nothing else intersted me -- though I toyed with the idea of adding a history of science major for a while.
09-30-2003, 10:10 PM
I started out in an Engineering track as an undergrad because I was good at math and science in high school. It turned out that Engineering required an instinctive understanding of higher level mathematics (like Calculus) that I didn't have, and wasn't interested in acquiring. After about a year and a half, the work was getting harder and I was enjoying it less, and getting worse grades, while many of my friends in engineering were understanding more, enjoying it more, and getting BETTER grades than they had been earlier. I decided I needed to switch to something I really liked.
I was always interested in natural history and ecology, and had gotten a 5 out of 5 on the AP Bio exam, and a 96 on the New York State Biology Regents exam, so I picked Biology. My parents were very supportive ("You'll end up cleaning animal cages in a lab for a living!") :rolleyes:
I had the option majoring in Genetics/Molecular Biology, Cellular Biology, Organismal Biology (Physiology) or Environmental. I chose Genetics/Molecular after taking a couple of courses and realizing I understood the stuff better than most of the rest of the students. All things being equal I would have chosen Environmental, but I knew the job prospects were poorer in that area.
15 odd years later I know that picking Bio as a major was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I would have been a miserable engineer. I have had a great career so far, and have never had to clean a cage.
09-30-2003, 11:31 PM
As has been said before, Do what you enjoy. But if you are so close to the finish line, I would suggest you finish that associate's degree, because, speaking for myself, I don't know anyone in any field, who doesn't benefit from knowing something more than the basics to run Joe's Company.
It's a decent foundation. Go dream a bit, and study what makes your toes curl. The old adage "do what you love, the money will follow" relies on your business savvy to translate a love of having guests in your home to running the most successful B&B your region ever saw.
As for me? I took a diploma in Hotel & Restaurant Management because I liked having people over all the time, so why not make a career out of hospitality? I transferred to a larger school with a larger degree because near the end of the diploma program, I felt confined and dissatisfied by that. I now have a B.Comm in Hospitality & Tourism Management, with a particular focus on resort development, and I'm working in admin. at a real estate appraisal firm. Several of the guys who do commercial appraisals have picked my brain about hospitality ventures, and now I'm working towards my post-graduate certificate in real estate appraisal, so I can pick my own brain. It's a detour, but my ultimate goal is still that kick-ass B&B I mentioned. :D
I took a class and liked it, so I added that major. Repeat twice. Ended up with majors in two social sciences and a foreign language minor.
As for what it meant in terms of a career, I've never done anything remotely related to any of my majors or my minor.
10-01-2003, 12:40 AM
I always liked to write, so my parents convinced me- by age 14- that I should major in English-journalism, since, theortically, you could get paid to write that way. So I applied to colleges that way, and was accepted (I do wonder if that help off-set my absymal math SAT scores, since they knew I wasn't interested in math or science) as a provisional English-Journalism major as a freshman. I'm not sure why, but all freshman with majors were labeled "provisional_________."
I stuck with that until I finally got to take a Journalism class the end of my Sophomore year. I hated it. There was no art to what they wanted us to write, and it's bad story-telling to give the most important things away first. So I switched to English-Teaching my Junior year. I got to take creative writing classes as electives, and decided that I really don't want to teach English either. But it's not a complete waste, since I spend a fair amount of my year working for an educational firm that deals with evaluating student writing. I think that's about as close as I'll ever come to putting my degree to legitimate use, but it's a lot closer than many people :D
I write better with spell-check. honest.
10-01-2003, 12:54 AM
Like a previous poster had mentioned, I have been writing code for years. Deciding to major in Computer Science was an easy choice -- something I like and something I'm good at. Plus something that pays well.
Deciding to minor in Applied Physics was pretty much random and whimsical, but I am enjoying the curriculum.
10-01-2003, 10:23 AM
While it is nice to know that I could design a steel truss or concrete footing if I had to, I could have done without 4 years of studying till 4 am for engineering classes full of ugly dudes.
10-01-2003, 11:52 AM
I already posted most of this in the GD thread about graduate student teachers, but here goes again. I went to college intending--with parental influence--to major in biology and eventually go to vet school. I failed the first exam. I was also awful in labs and my best friend freshman year took pity on me and basically did my graphs and charts for me. It was hopeless. I finished the course and ended up with a C. The next year, I took a lot of English Lit classes and realized it was the right thing for me to do. I'd always excelled in English in high school--won an award for it--and I can't explain why exactly I never chose to major in it in the first place, but I was a much happier person for it.
Work is so much more enjoyable when it's not work. To echo other posters, find something you enjoy doing in general. Studying, researching, taking exams and writing papers become interesting exercises and challenges instead of hurdles you have to miserably crawl over. I wanted to go to class, do all the reading, and write ambitious papers. I wanted to do well instead of just get by.
sultana of slash
10-01-2003, 03:29 PM
I took a vocational test in high school. It said basically two things: "Do you like to work with your hands?" Yes! "Do you like to write and think?" Yes! At the end of the test it said: There is no job for you. (It was designed to head people either to vocational training, like garage mechanic, or college.) I didn't understand the limitations of testing and I was deeply bummed.
I majored in No Idea for two years. Vaguely thinking about learning a lot of languages and being a translator at the UN. Started a major in Russian Studies. Switched to Biology. Switched to Biochemistry. Took Greek and Latin on the side through a Bible school (still going on the languages idea). Ended up in med school. Vowed to be a tender hearted family doc. Fell in love with surgery. Left surgery bitterly after 2 years. Ended up in pathology.
Majored in Forensic Pathology.
Now I work with my hands every day, and use my brain and write all the time.
Sometimes it works out even when you get bad advice early on, and don't realize what it is you want to do.
10-01-2003, 10:10 PM
I couldn't pass the coursework in the other two majors I tried (Spanish and International Relations), so in my third year I finally settled on Communications. In my opinion, it's the easiest major there is... they'll take anybody. Or at least they did when I was in college.
10-01-2003, 11:06 PM
Well, I liked biology, liked problem solving, and wanted to help people without having to actually deal with them. So voila! biomedical engineering. I'm only a sophomore, but I think I've made the right decision.
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