How to Decide Your Major

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(sorry the video is a little blurry on this one. Camera malfunction)

Transcript of video

A question was submitted by Dani at “Ask Amiee.” Dani said she knows she wants to go to college—she’s made that choice, but she doesn’t know yet what to major in, so what should she do about that?

So Dani, the first thing I would say is ” Congrats on making one big decision. That’s huge! And don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t know yet what you want to do for the rest of your life. Honestly people in their thirties, forties and fifties, in a lot of cases, don’t know exactly what they want to do with the rest of their lives.

Even if you did know what you wanted to do with the rest of your life, there’s a chance, because things change so rapidly now, technologies, careers and industries, that it would be a different job later anyway. There’s a chance that what you think you’d want to do now, won’t even be the same type of career later. Seems like we are all evolving in some way when it comes to our careers.

So here is what I would say. You don’t have to ever know exactly what you want to do with the rest of your life. Don’t even hold on to that pressure, because you can always adjust, grow and change your mind. There is nothing wrong with switching careers later. Its just depends on what you want to do.

Now if you are the type of person who wants to have the same career for the rest of your life, that is fine too, but you don’t have to have that kind of pressure now.

In the meantime, while you’re young and you’re in school or you’re in the earlier years of college, there are a few of things that could really help you narrow down what you think you want to do or at least what you want to do for the next five or ten years.

  1. Take a variety of classes.If you are going to college, make sure that those first two or three semesters have a good variety. Don’t take only business classes. Make sure that you are taking a lot of things. A lot of schools actually structure it that way—where you’re required to anyway. But the nice thing about it is, it will expose you to things that maybe you haven’t studied before and you might find that you’re really excited about it.I know when I was in school I went in for a business major. That’s what I thought I wanted to do, because that was an option in my high school. I had a couple of business classes outside of normal high school classes. My first 3 semesters of college, I took an anthropology class and an astronomy class and a literary analysis class, and I really liked each one. Each made me reconsider what I wanted to take as a major, because I really enjoyed the subjects of all of them.So take a variety of classes to expand your horizons.
  2. Along those same lines, it’s also great to join as many groups as you can fit into your schedule.Maybe you try a group or two each semester, but join different groups that are provided on campus or around that community, because you will be exposed to people from different careers and other people with other experiences. They can share with you ideas you just didn’t even know about, which again expand your horizons.It is better to make a decision when you’ve experience in a variety of things so you’ll have a better idea of what you like best or enjoy most. You are going to find out what really resonates with you by having those different experiences versus just guessing what you think you’d really like to do.
  3. Talk to different professionals from different industries and ask them about their work and industries.Ask them what they like about their careers or what they don’t like. Or what they see changing in the future of their industries. It’s sort of like you’re interviewing people from different industries to get an idea of what they think about it. You might find that you learn things you never even considered or didn’t know were related to that industry you were considering.You might think that you really want to go into a particular type of career now but you talk to another professional from that industry to find out that there are things about it that are more challenging or difficult or maybe not as enjoyable that you didn’t even know about. That may make you reconsider. So definitely a great resource is to talk to professionals in those industries that you think you might be interested in.If you have no idea what you are interested in and you just want to get that well-rounded bit of information from different sources, this is a good approach.
  4. The last thing I would say is that you could also volunteer or get part time jobs in different industries just to get some experience.Really get the behind scenes look and that can give you a good idea of what you like or don’t like.

Just remember that you never have to be 100% sure. That’s what’s great. Because even if you do something for a few years and you find out that it’s not what you want to do forever, you can change it. Resources are abandoned. You can learn from mentors, you can apprentice, you can intern, you can take different jobs, you can go back to school, you can take non-traditional programs. There are so many things out there these days…that even if you ever change your mind, that’s really okay. You don’t have to decide right now what you are going to do for 50 years. You just have to decide what direction to work toward for the next few years.

Also remember that you must take action.

The only way that you could really go wrong when you are trying to decide what you want to do, or trying to decide what to major in, is to not do anything. To just hold it in your mind and feel the pressure of making that decision and not really utilize any resource to help you with it. That would be a mistake.

So whether you want to join groups, take part time jobs, volunteer, talk to professionals, take a variety of classes… whatever it is you decide to do… all or some of that… make sure that you do it! Taking action is how you move forward. So that would be my main bit of advice.

I hope that helped you Dani. Feel free to submit any other question that you have. You can go to www.AmieeMueller.com, click on Ask Amiee, and submit any question you like. I look forward to chatting again soon.

Submit your question below in the comments or to Ask Amiee and maybe the next video will be for you.

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