College is a challenge. Navigating a new place, living with a stranger, trying to avoid Steven Glansberging in the caf, all of this can add up and knock us down. With all this craziness and confusion, is it really fair to expect us to know, at 18, what we want to do with our lives?
Picking a major can be a tricky process, especially when there’s advice and ideas being thrown at you from everywhere. Mom, dad, aunts and uncles, cousins, neighbors, mailmen, everyone has an opinion on what you should do. Most of the time, their suggestions have nothing to do with your interests. Instead, it’s all focused on making the big bucks, the moola, that Robert De Niro, the… what we are talking about is money. With the economy and job market still a little messy, it makes sense. People just want what’s best for us. They think that, regardless of what you like doing or pursuing, there’s security in jobs like finance or accounting. For some people, that IS what they want to do, and that’s a great career path! For others, it takes time to figure out what they want, and how they want to utilize their skills.
Take me for example. As a freshman, I came in as a Psychology major. I thought I could become the next Dr. Phil, helping others solve their problems. Then I took Anatomy and Physiology, and trust me, no amount of help, psychological or otherwise, could have gotten me to pass that class. It was back to the drawing board; meanwhile I had friends loving the majors they had chosen. I had no idea the direction I wanted to take my life in, and I felt like a failure for saying I was Undecided. I realistically went through about four majors before choosing the one I liked. From teacher to musical director, from writer to designer, it took me a while to choose English and Advertising as my majors. The one who helped me there? My mother, who told me from day one that I would end up in a career involved in English. She knew my strengths were in reading and writing, but I never believed that would get me anywhere. Now I have a great writing internship with the Career Development Office, which I love! (They’re paying me, I have to say that.)
The moral of the story is: Realize your strengths and weaknesses, and use them to your advantage. It’s that whole idea of loving what you do, and you’ll never work a day in your life. Here are some more tips to get you on the right path to finding your future major!
Step 1: Self-Assessment
It’s time to take it all off. Bare yourself TO yourself. Stop listening to what everyone around you is saying, and just focus on the traits that make you happy. Whether it’s writing, math, teaching, human rights, or any other interest, take a second and think about the skills and personality that you have, and look towards careers and majors that encapsulate that spirit.
Step 2: Stop calling yourself Undecided
You’re not undecided, you’re exploring options! Xavier offers great classes and majors, so take some time and check out what feels right before jumping into anything. And next time your relatives at Thanksgiving ask you your major, tell them you’re Exploratory. Then tell them to stop asking if you are ever going to get a boyfriend or girlfriend. IT’LL HAPPEN EVENTUALLY, GRANDMA.
Step 3: Take advantage of the Career Development Office
In complete honesty, they are extremely helpful with their services. They have great information, like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Strong Interest Inventory, and Focus 2, assessments that help pick identify your interests and gives you career options. The Career Coaches will help you analyze these results and plan what to do next.
To conclude, pick something that you like. Don’t look to whatever will make you the most money, or get you the biggest house, or impress others. Look towards something that will make you happy, and enjoy the work you do. As actor Jim Carrey puts it:
“You can fail at something you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance doing what you love.”
From wannabe Doctor Professor Director Conductor Designer Ad-man Copywriter, good luck.
- Redmond Millerick