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One of the most stressful decisions you have to make during your college years is picking your major.

At most schools, this decision has to be set in stone by the end of your freshman year – some programs need to have you started the second you set your foot in the door.

So where do you go from here? I’ve got some advice to help you out!

What interests me?

Which classes do you look forward to most? Dread those statistics classes but love your psychology ones? Do you get excited about discussions in your history class? There have to be some classes that you favor over others. Possibly you like to help people? Maybe a human services degree would benefit you.

While homework is never fun, there have to be some classes that the homework is more interesting to you than others. Although I might be a huge nerd, I always preferred doing my homework for my journalism classes over others – such as writing a five-page history paper. That’s just where my interest was. Figure out what interests you first … and then move on from there.

How does my major translate into a job?

While you first need to figure out what you like, you’ve also got to keep in the back of your mind how you could turn your major into a job down the road. This matters particularly if you want to major in something in the liberal arts (i.e. English, history, political science). What do you think you want to do for your career and how would majoring in this subject help you?

This is a very important step I think most students forget about. It’s not just about figuring out what you like and rolling with it – you’ve also got to figure out how you can forge a career out of it! Because, let’s be real, you do want to find a job after you graduate, right?

What if I hate my major?

Even if it will take you an extra semester (or two) to graduate, don’t stick with something if you don’t like it. You’ll be wasting your time, money and degree!

Dissect (with the help of an adviser or professor) just what you don’t like about your major. Is the subject matter too difficult? Have you lost your initial interest? Is it not what you thought it would be? Not matter what the reason, you’ve got to listen to your heart. If your heart isn’t in it, then it’s time to pick a different major. List what you like and don’t like about your major and then try to see what would fit you better.

What if I like something but don’t want to major in it?

That’s the perfect subject to minor in! You’ll want to pick something as a minor that you are interested in that could somewhat help you with your career. While I went into college knowing exactly what I wanted to major in, I was less sure about what I wanted to minor in. I had to take a criminal justice class as one of my required liberal arts classes when I discovered that I was really interested in the subject. While I definitely didn’t want to major in criminal justice, I decided it would be a great minor. Since I was majoring in journalism, I figured it would be helpful to know much more about the criminal court system since journalists do cover a lot of crime stories.
I hope this answers some of your most basic questions, and hopefully you’ll be able to answer that oh-so-annoying question of   “So what are you majoring in?” with some confidence. Have additional questions? Ask me in the comments!

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