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Some Discussions Concerning College Majors

What is your major and why did you choose it? Have you ever changed your major or thought about changing your major?

Please express your comments by clicking on the REPLY button below.

Comments

Jay Pineda's picture

my major

My major is Marketing Management. I have chosen this because I think this will suit me well. I first chose Business Administration and then chose Marketing Management after 2 years on the BA department. Our university gives us 2 years to go soul searching and test the waters(by taking up the basic courses about majors) on what majors we would pick.

Though I had last minute second thoughts on what major to take up. I still chose marketing over entrepreneurship. My reason for this is that in my point of view, I can run a business though I am not on entrepreneurship. And on marketing, I can run and MARKET a business cos I specialize on marketing.

I chose marketing because I always imagined and thought of bright and new ideas. I am not artistic- then I thought that Marketing is the major that I should pick. I can apply my ideas on marketing strategies and advertisements. I knew what I wanna do after college even before I entered college.

You just have to assess yourself. Know your strengths and weaknesses. Also your likes and dislikes. Good luck to all  those incoming freshmen.

Adelaide's picture

Jay,  I don't think I could

Jay,  I don't think I could ever go into marketing.  It was never even on my mind when I decided to go into college.  I went in without really knowing what career I wanted to be.  Sure, bankers, nurses, lawyers, they make a lot of good money, salespeople do too.  I just couldn't see myself stuck in an office working day in and day out. 

I actually started out with a major in Elementary Education, but that changed abruptly when I discovered that I'm not that great of a babysitter type.  I switched to English because it has always been one of my passions, and even though I still worked towards teaching certification just in case I can't get a job writing, I still dream of going into a bookstore one day and seeing my name in the Bestseller list. 

It might be hard getting into a job as an English Major, but I can say that I've learned so much more in a major I knew I would love, even if the job opportunities are a little more rare.

java602's picture

English Major

For some people, deciding on a college major is difficult. For others, it is extremely easy. Fortunately, I was part of the latter group. I knew that I wanted to major in English by my sophomore year of high school. I was blessed with amazing teachers, and I could never possibly thank them enough for pointing me in a direction that has brought me so much happiness.

If you want to major in English, make sure that you love reading. You will have more reading assignments than you could ever possibly imagine, and I’m not just talking about novels. You will be expected to have a good grasp on the genres of poetry and nonfiction as well. There will be a lot of essay writing involved as well.

People tend to make comments about how an English degree is useless for getting a job, but there are actually many careers available after college. One of the most unlikely ones is marketing. English majors have the ability to know what sounds good when it is written, and advertisers idolize this knowledge to make effective advertisements.

I am extremely happy with my choice of major. I am minoring in business to make myself more attractive to employers, which is a good move for anyone receiving a degree in the Arts. The one piece of advice which I can offer is that if you do something that you love, it will make you happy and despite what people might say, it is totally possible to earn a living doing so.

jessi246's picture

Great comment!

I think it's so great that your university gives you two years just to decide on a major! So many universities pressure people into choosing a major as soon as possible. I think that people should take their time with this decision, as it can affect the rest of their lives. I think your reasons for choosing marketing are good ones and well-suited to you. Great comment!

jessi246's picture

The Molecular Biology Major

Whew! It’s been a long road to discover that this major was the one for me, and those who hear me talk about it may be surprised to hear that it was a hard decision. I always knew that biology was my passion (well, since high school, anyway), but there are so many biology majors! The number of choices I was faced with in the Life Science department stunned me. If you’re like I was, searching for a major within biology and unsure where you should turn, consider the Molecular Biology major.

            Molecular Biology definitely has some perks. It is a great major for covering the intricacies of how our bodies work at a molecular level. Whether you’re going on to be a medical student or a scientist, it is a fantastic major for covering the basics.

I would recommend it more to the scientist than to the med student, however. For a budding scientist wanting to research genetics, engineering, or anything to do with small molecules, really, this major is a perfect basis for any graduate program you’ll go into. For the student wishing to become a doctor, there may be a major that covers more anatomy and physiology than this one does, and that may be a better choice for you. However, if molecules are what you’re into, never fear! This major will more than adequately prepare the blooming doctor or researcher, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to either. 

JamieS86's picture

History major

As an undergrad, I always knew I wanted to be a history major. The only question I had was whether or not I wanted to combine it with a double major. 

After undergrad I went to law school and realized right away that I was much happier when I was studying history, so I switched over to a graduate history program. I'm so glad I made that decision. People always said I would never get a job with a history degree, but none of the law students I knew are getting jobs either because of the situation with the job market.

So I guess I'd encourage people to just study what's interesting instead of what's practical. Maybe not the best advice for everyone, but it's worked out for me so far. . .

bandella's picture

5 years, 3 majors...oy.

When I started college, I very stupidly decided on a whim to major in photography. I was a writer by nature, but I thought, "Pfft, I can't do anything with an English degree. I know! I'll be a photographer!" This was after taking exactly one photography class my senior year of high school.

Truthfully, I was only adequate at best, certainly nothing to brag about, but I decided to try it out anyway. Imagine my surprise, then, when I learned there's a lot of other things you have to do as an art major.

Like taking drawing classes. I'm lucky if I can draw a straight line with a ruler. My instructor was a grad student himself and very friendly and supportive, but there was only so much he could do with someone who has all the artistic ability of a blind chimp, you know? Then there was my graphic design class. My professor was a terrible jerk who would ridicule and belittle students in front of their peers, even rip up their work in front of the class and tell them to drop out and go work at McDonald's. Just not a nice man. You can probably guess how I did in that class, too. 

So I ended up getting not one, but two Cs that semester. The first Cs I'd ever gotten in any class, and that's how I began my college career. I cried for a long time, did a lot of hand-wringing, but finally decided that I wasn't happy and I wasn't going to be happy as long as I stuck with a major I knew I wasn't any good at. During the winter break between first and second semester, then, I officially changed majors from art to English, and it was surprisingly painless and much less complicated than I feared it would be. 

Fast forward about three and a half years. I went to meet a counselor for my senior evaluation, essentially just a meeting to make sure I'm on schedule to graduate. I'd been very happy as an English major and had been doing very well, and I'd also been steadily working through my university's general requirements, so I thought everything was cool.

No. Surprise! I found out in that meeting that I had somehow come up about 20 credit hours short of the minimum required for graduation the following spring. Excuse me? I'd taken full course loads every single semester; how was this possible? The biggest insult was that she explained that it didn't even matter what I took -- I could take swimming lessons if I wanted, as long as I got credit for them -- I just needed the hours on paper. 

I was crushed. I'd fully planned on graduating the following semester because I'd already signed up to take the last couple classes I needed to complete my English major. As I'm wont to do, I went home, cried a while, went through the hand-wringing phase again, and then decided to fight back.

So my school wanted to keep me on for another year. Fine. But they were going to make it worth my while. I checked out the requirements in the history department and found much to my amazement that I only needed a couple major-specific classes and a couple general history requirements to attain a major, due to how many history courses I'd already completed for my minor (and just because I wanted to take the classes).

I needed random credit hours, and I was going to be stuck at school for an extra year no matter what, so I thought, "Why not?" That's how I ended up double majoring. That, too, was a very painless process. I simply went to the College of Liberal Arts office and asked to turn my minor into a second major. The process took all of about five minutes and that was that. 

Looking back, I'm glad all this happened. History has been my passion ever since, and it gives me a very practical application of the writing skills I originally signed up as an English major to explore in the first place. Plus, I've learned all sorts of random trivia that's great conversation fodder.

bandella's picture

Options for English majors

java602 wrote:

For some people, deciding on a college major is difficult. For others, it is extremely easy. Fortunately, I was part of the latter group. I knew that I wanted to major in English by my sophomore year of high school. I was blessed with amazing teachers, and I could never possibly thank them enough for pointing me in a direction that has brought me so much happiness.

If you want to major in English, make sure that you love reading. You will have more reading assignments than you could ever possibly imagine, and I’m not just talking about novels. You will be expected to have a good grasp on the genres of poetry and nonfiction as well. There will be a lot of essay writing involved as well.

People tend make comments about how an English degree is useless for getting a job, but there are actually many careers available after college. One of the most unlikely ones is marketing. English majors have the ability to know what sounds good when it is written and advertisers idolize this knowledge to make effective advertisements.

I am extremely happy with my choice of major. I am minoring in business to make myself more attractive to employers, which is a good move for anyone receiving a degree in the Arts. The one piece of advise that I can offer is that if you do something you love, it will make you happy and despite what people might say, it is totally possible to earn a living doing so.

java, great idea! There's always that point in every English major's life (or, honestly, any liberal arts major's life) when it finally hits them: this is for real. This isn't just something to do for fun or to pass the time or because it's what's expected after high school. This is actually training meant to prepare me for a career. That's usually also the time when panic sets in and students start thinking, "Why didn't I listen to my parents and become a doctor? What am I ever going to do with this degree?" You hit the nail on the head with the unusual fields that correlate nicely with English majors, marketing being one of those. People who are really passionate about English and the written word have a natural talent for knowing when something sounds good and genuinely persuasive and when something is just hokey or too technical (or, on occasion, too condescending). Advertisers don't always pick up on those distinctions. They think that as long as the copy is selling a product, that's good enough, right? But just a misplaced word could cost thousands of sales. 

Plus, people will always need proofreaders and editors. Computer software can catch glaring spelling mistakes, but Word's grasp on grammar is lacking, to say the least, and it still can't tell you the difference between they're, their, and there. Companies don't want business reports and press releases going out with simple mistakes like misspelled words, poor syntax, incorrect grammar, and generally awkward or bad writing that could easily have been corrected by anyone trained to look for such errors. Scientists and doctors don't want their academic articles going to press with these errors, either. Often, because these are highly technical fields, the author might not pay as much attention to the language as he or she should. After all, the material makes sense to them, so it never occurs to them that someone else not in their specialty might not have a clue what they're trying to say, in which case even the most astounding breakthrough in an article is useless.

JamieS86's picture

 Hi Bandella,  It sounds like

 Hi Bandella,

 It sounds like you got stuck with some pretty terrible professors and advisors. I don't think it's ever acceptable to belittle or insult students, even if you privately think their work is subpar. Maybe your assessment of your artistic ability has been negatively influenced by that experience.

 As for the late graduation, I can't believe an advisor would let you get into that situation! My advisors weren't always right, but they at least provided check sheets and other guides early on in the process so I could tell where I was in terms of graduation time.

 Well, it sounds like it all worked out for you in the end, but you shouldn't have had to go through all that.

bandella's picture

Jamie

Yeah, that graphic design prof was just a nightmare and a half. I'd like to blame my opinion of my artistic "talents" on him, but nah, I'm honest enough to realize that I really can't draw and I don't have much of an eye for design. Stinks, too, because I'm obsessed with all the design shows on HGTV. Figures, huh? :P

I only ever talked to my advisor the first two years in college, and then only because it was mandatory. This advisor, whom I later had the misfortune of listening to in class, was tenured, near retirement, and honestly couldn't have cared less about anything going on around him. During my second visit to his office, during which I only needed him to sign off on my schedule because I'd done the necessary research myself and just needed his signature to lift the hold on my account so I could register, he spent the entire hour-long meeting talking to me about lawnmowers.  I ended up being late for my next class, and on top of that, he then told me that I had to get the secretary to sign, and guess what? The secretary had just gone to lunch when he finally let me out of his office. 

That's why when I was working on my history major, and then when I was admitted to the graduate program at the same school, I picked my own advisor. He was a professor I'd had for several classes before, we got along really well, and he was actually interested in helping me out. So it worked out okay in the end.

navyatha's picture

Bandella

Oh man that wasn't a great experience. I am also a to be 3 times change of major (air hi5). Well, lets see. I started out in bio-medical engineering because I fell prey to the sales pitch, which basically said bio-medical is concerning biology. So I got. After a year and half, I was still waiting for biology classes to show up. One bio-chemistry class showed up and then that's it. Everything else was electronics and electricity. I wanted to change to bio-technology but that would changing from engineering to science which would extend by graduation. So, I took chemical engineering. I did like chemistry and math. The theory was great and I was acing the subjects. Then came MATLAB. I realised I don't like computing programs. One of the reasons why I dint choose computer engineering. But anyway, I did obtain some computing skills. Now, I am actually on a break from my academics. I am not sure I want to get back into chemical engineering. It just doesnt feel right. So, I probably end up taking some other major. Oh well, that's that.

jayands's picture

Thanks, Java,

Thanks, Java, for giving me a realistic representation of what an English degree is like. To be honest, I had been considering double-majoring in English so as to make it easy to become a teacher, later on in life, after I'd been a programmer; now, I'm not as sure. That said, I think I still want to do it. I'll have to consider it carefully by spring, as I probably don't want to get too far ahead in one major, but will take the fall to enjoy my Computer Science classes. It does sound like a lot of fun, I just never really liked writing essays. Of course, part of the problem for me was always that my handwriting was and is atrocious and my teachers always wanted handwritten stuff in high school.

jayands's picture

@Navyatha

As someone that loves math and chemistry, as well, I can certainly say I feel for you. Have you considered being a teacher for either one? Granted, the coolest science teacher I ever had was my physics teacher (who also taught forensics at my school, but moved on to teach in Florida), and my coolest math teacher taught my least favorite of all maths (CPCTC, anyone?), but all in all, my favorite teachers have always been my math and science teachers. (especially CS teacher; he was snarky enough to keep up with a room full of teenagers, after all :D)

bandella's picture

jayands

Do not be afraid of the English people! We're a little eccentric sometimes (and yes, there are some of us who are condescending snobs) but it's fun. Come to the dark side! We may not have cookies, but we can tell you all about what those cookies represent in no fewer than three different academic schools of theory.

Don't worry about the handwriting thing, either. It's not fair to generalize, I know, but most of my English profs had terrible handwriting. Actually, most of my professors in any department have terrible handwriting, but whatever. Odds are it won't even be an issue unless you're doing an in-class exam, and particularly as an English major, those aren't too common. English profs are much more likely to assign actual essays to be typed and printed as opposed to handwritten, and for good reason. Imagine you're an overburdened prof with three courses and all of them have ten page papers due at the same time. Now imagine you're staring at this stack of essays...all written by hand. I was a TA for the first part of my graduate program and what I hated most about grading was trying to decipher people's handwriting. What a nightmare. A prof who actually intends to read every essay handed in to them is almost certainly going to want it typed so that they can read it quickly and easily and not try to figure out if this person has written an "a" or an "o" or if they're just decided to use heiroglyphics instead.

TiffanyHayes's picture

My Major

I decided to major in nursing first, then continue on to study anesthia. I chose this path because I was born at six months, and was a very premature baby with many difficulties. Because of my prematurity, I faced many grueling surgeries growing up. I grew to consider most of the local hospital staff family in many ways.

The anesthesiologist who helped me to choose my "flavor" of anesthesia, and calmly explained procedures and what to expect, was my reason for becoming an anesthetist. She was kind, and gentle, and because of her selflessness, I remember more of those positive moments instead of fear and anxiety.

TiffanyHayes's picture

That would be awesome

Yes I agree, it would be awesome to be an author. I attempted several times to write a book, but without specific fiction writing experience, the ideas were just that, ideas. I could concoct amazing adventures and characters in my mind, and the plot would make sense,.....then when I sat down to write it, it never came out the way I imagined, plus my mind was always turning and throwing details in as I wrote, twisting and mangling the plot until I hit brick wall. If this is your passion though, and you are educated in this, then go for it!!!1 I wish you all the best!!

TiffanyHayes's picture

Teachers who know they know

I think that instructors who have knowledge of a subject that is very difficult for most to grasp, and can also teach the subject with skill. They must have a bigger joy for their work and accomplishments. I know I would. It is hard enough to learn some of the things that are taught in classes like physics and trig, and chemistry. It would make me walk with my head high, proud of myself for being able to make it"click" for others.

MaiaRose's picture

Part 1

Wow, I could go on about this for quite a while. I was all over the place. First, I didn't know. That's enlightening, huh? ;) I searched and took all kinds of personality tests and spiritual gifts inventories and so on, and didn’t know. I finally decided that general communications interested me, so I entered school as a general communications major with a Bible minor, as it is automatic that anyone who graduates Northwestern College gets a Bible minor.

So there I was, starting in communications, and I thought, I really should be more specific than this. I like people. I’ll be a Public Relations major.

 huh? ;)

MaiaRose's picture

Part 2

So I switched to public relations.  But at that same time, I started realizing my incredible passion was in horsemanship and in acting (weird mix, I know). I wasn’t going to pursue horsemanship as a career nor acting, but a few things changed that. First, I won (yes, won—in an essay contest) a horse of my dreams, the same breed as Shadowfax in the Lord of the Rings. Getting her was one of the most incredible experiences in my life, and I decided to stay in horses. (I had been riding since I was five years old—in fact, my favorite color when I was little was brown, because I was convinced all horses were brown. :) ).

MaiaRose's picture

Part 3

 

I also loved acting and through a series of situations found out that some people could actually make a decent living at “low level” (ie, not huge feature films) acting and even modeling. I had never considered modeling before, but found out it was quite fun, within reason.

 

So then I decided I those were my two absolute core, soul passions, and I wanted to know how to combine them. I thought and thought and talked and prayed and imagined until I thought, well, maybe I could train horses for film. This seemed to meld both of my passions and take into account all of my being.

MaiaRose's picture

Part 4

 

So I joined the Interdisciplinary Studies program at Northwestern and started designing my own major to do that (because, well, they didn’t offer anything in Film Horse Training!!).

 

So my first major was then called something like, “Equine Business and Film Studies.” However, after weeks of work on that, I found it started to fall through. First, my equine business studies had to be through distance ed, as Northwestern didn’t offer any equine business. So I started taking distance classes through Purdue University, but found that I didn’t want to continue—I wasn’t learning much and I did not care for the courses at all. So I had to drop that.

MaiaRose's picture

Part 5

 

Meanwhile, the film part was falling through as well. I was having a hard time fitting into the theatre department (because I wanted to do film) and also didn’t fit into the film department (because I didn’t want to produce films). So now I was stuck.

 

New plan. I still wanted to follow this dream, but then I took a new path: that of Entrepreneurship. And that is what my new major was called and designed around: entrepreneurial business. I ended up designing it so that I took classes in business, accounting, writing, public relations, marketing, layout, social media, and more.

MaiaRose's picture

Part 6

This has prepared me in a great way for my future business.

And because it was a smaller major, I was able to take some great electives, too, including Acting. So, I did get some theatre in there! Northwestern has been so supportive throughout the process, and it has been a great experience. I was home-schooled my entire life, and so in a sense, it was just a continuance of what I knew about being self-motivated about driving my education.

And now, it’s just going from there! Next semester I’ll be making my business plan, marketing plan, public relations campaign, and more—so exciting!

Alex1017's picture

Path to finding my Major

 

Like most people, when I began searching for a major toward the end of my high school career I was somewhat overwhelmed by the number of schools and different programs offered at each university.  I knew that I was interested in computers but did not want to study computer science exclusively.  During the summer of my senior year of high school, I visited Penn State University and found out about their Information Sciences and Technology program and was very impressed to say the least.

 

More and more schools are beginning to create majors that address bridging the gap between software developers and business stakeholders.  There is a growing need in the business world and IT departments for college graduates with strong communication skills, a solid foundation in different technology platforms, and the ability to work in teams to deliver results.  Penn State’s IST program does an excellent job in these areas and prepares students for IT careers in large fortune 500 companies.  Coursework during my Freshman and Sophomore years was more technical while my Junior and Senior year curriculum focused more on organization theory and decision making and project management - Overall, it has been an excellent experience and I look forward to taking the skills I’ve acquired into the corporate workforce.

FrancesG's picture

Major Choices

My personal and professional goal is to obtain a Master’s Degree in Management with a focus on Project Management in preparation for passing the Project Management Professional exam and pursuing a Ph.D. in Management. My choice to major and specialize in Management and Project Management originates from an innate desire to organize and provide structure to any given situation. I am most satisfied in my profession when I am provided the opportunity to take on a project that allows me to work with and through a team to reach a common goal. Enrollment in a graduate program focusing on Project Management is helping refine my skills and gives me an edge in the job market that will enhance my ability to reach my goals. My Bachelors is in Business Management, so Project Management is fairly closely related. I have also toyed with the idea of enrolling in a Journalism program once I complete my current M.S. to give myself an added edge in the marketplace.

onlinerewardz's picture

my major

Well, right from high school, I have always wanted to major in electrical engineering, because I have so much passion for electric gadgets. My dad usually told me that when I was very young, if he bought a toy for me, I would always want to dismantle the toy and find out how it was working; and when I broke the toy into pieces and the toy stopped working, then I would cry and say that he should buy another toy. So, I am trying to bring out here is that I have always loved to experiment on things that involving electronics. I kept on carrying this passion until I finally graduated from high school. Now, let me tell you what suddenly changed my steps, when I applied to my university.  I chose engineering technology as my major, but when I was admitted, I was admitted to the civil engineering department. This was how I found myself studying civil engineering. Although I could change my major to electrical engineering immediately, I had a feeling that I would still be happy, if I study a civil engineering. Now, I have really started to get acquainted with the civil engineering courses that I am taking. Let's just see what the future holds for me.

zwright55's picture

Jack of all Trades

As a freshman, I had an ambition to be a fine arts major. Before I could take my first art class the adult figure in my life strongly was against it. 

So, after that I decided to try my hand at being a secondary education history/ social studies double major with a minor in geography and for a good 2.5 years I stuck with that until I found that I was good at geography but not REALLY wanting it as a minor, so I changed my geography minor to Japanese and studied abroad to Japan. After that experience I ultimately dropped my secondary education social studies degree and landed to where I am now, and that is a History major with a minor in Japanese. I couldn't be happier. IF I HAD my full on choice with no outside influence from adults, I probably would have been a fine arts major with a minor in Japanese. But since I've had so many influences in my life from outside folks, this is what I ultimately chose to make my real major and minor. 

Capslock077's picture

Major Major...

I started out as a math major.  I like math what can I say.  I quickly realized that I wouldn't be able to do much with a math degree regardless of how much I liked it.  I changed that over to business administration.  That switched several times between that and business management.  I eventually graduated with a bachelors of science in business administration.  I went this route because I would much rather be helping the administratvie team than managing the team.  THe key diffferences between the two classes are really macro and micro economics. which are horrible classes for anyone to have to take.  I am glad that I chose this major as it will benefit me when I am trying to find a job.  For the moment college just ended and I will relax for a period of time now.  Business is what moves the world.  That is why I chose this major becuase it is so dynamic.

yiliang95's picture

my thoughts about majors...

After seeing so many posts about choosing and changing majors, I decided post my thoughts. I havn't decided on my major yet, but I know it will be in the technological/engineering field. My passion is in chemistry while my hobbie is programming. My parents are engineers, and ever since I was young I had wanted to follow their footsteps and go into the semiconductor industry. However, in high school I discovered that I enjoy chemistry much more than physic, which seemed rather dull. However, the job opportunities open to those with a chemical degree is not what I want, resulting in a dilemma.

Fortunately, I discovered Computer Science, which is basically a programming class. I enjoy programming, and there are countless job opportunities available to those with a degree in CS. My major will probably be in CS while I might minor in Chemistry. To me, it is more important than anything to choose a degree that will help you in your envisioned career. After all, there is a world outside of college.

 

closetsocialist's picture

I started off as a film and

I started off as a film and visual media major. Growing up, I had a huge interest in movies, and wanted to be involved in the production process. I think doing anything from camera work to editing to writing would have been amazing. But the major was daunting. Something I was unaware of before classes began was that I would need to purchase all of my equipment. Editing software. A Mac. Camera equipment. And the course load was intense. My university required that communications majors either took on a minor or double majored -- and I wanted to do that, but time was not on my side.

Oddly enough, there was an election going on when I entered college. I had an interest in politics since 2004. So I decided to volunteer on a couple of campaigns, going door to door to convince people why they should vote for Candidates X and Y. I really enjoyed it. And once my team one, I decided that I would switch majors from film to political science. It wasn't out of convenience or anything; I just felt more compassionate about politics than film.

Looking back, I would do a few things differently. I probably would have been double majored in film and political science. There's still another grad program that caters to both interests at my university, should I wish to pursue it -- but I think I would have been able to be a bit more creative in politics had I also stuck with visual media. That said, I don't regret anything. I think it's important for people to follow what they're most passionate about. It's even more important to consider the job market of your major; had I stuck with film alone, I have no idea if I'd find a job right out of college. Obviously, there are a lot of things to consider when choosing a major; ultimately, you just need to do what's best for you.