I get so lost sometimes. I have a million different interests. Every time I take a new class I think about switching my major. I love art, music, philosophy, geography, history, science, etc. I have no clue what to do with my life! I’m in college now, and have been for a few years. While I have chosen a major, how do I know that this is the right choice for me? I’m kind of a “Renaissance Man,” only I’m not a man. How can I deal with being this type a person in a society that tells me I should have a distinct career path chosen?
Thanks for your help.
-Lost in TU
Very few people are blessed with the knowledge of what they want to do for the rest of their lives, and those who do often find the path to their chosen career littered with roadblocks. Choosing a major and sticking to it for the entire four to six years in college is almost unheard of. In a college setting, people are constantly bombarded with new ideas and realities. I myself had changed my major three times before I realized I wanted to do exactly what everyone thought I should do in the first place.
In the old days, college used to be strictly about academics. A rounded curriculum gave students an opportunity to explore all fields and aspects, allowing them to choose a broad major that could be used toward any sort of employment. Today school has become specialized, even on the high school level, forcing students early on to make a decision that could affect the rest of their lives. It’s extremely unfair.
You say you’ve been in school for a couple years, so I’m guessing you’ve been able to explore many of your interests already. While a wide variety of classes may not be the path toward a specified degree, it is not at all harmful. A business student who’s only taken business classes may know all about business, but when he needs to write an interesting proposal he’ll find a creative writing class would have done him some good.
It is possible to incorporate all your interests into your life after graduation. Philosophy jobs are rare, but knowledge gained taking those courses can be applied to daily life (and make you look super smart at office parties). Artistic and musical skills are often needed in the most random places. In general, a broad understanding and interest of many different subjects can only provide more opportunities for you.
Unfortunately it will not bring you any closer to a degree. Once you hit your junior year it becomes necessary for you to focus your attention on a specific major. Your classes are going to have to revolve around this major and so is your attention, otherwise you are doomed to remain a student forever.
You should base your choice on several factors. Obviously, interest is first. You don’t want to study English if you hate to read. Drive is the second factor. If you choose to study this, will you do all you can to succeed? Practicality is the third factor.. This is the one everyone hates. How many jobs are there in your chosen field? Do you have what it takes to get one of them? Don’t let it deter you if what you want isn’t practical; just keep in mind that you may need to work harder to get it.
Deciding what you’re going to focus on doesn’t need to be a huge ordeal. Despite common belief, your major does not determine the rest of your life. Most people change careers several times after college and often times end up in jobs that have nothing to do with what they studied in college. And you can always go back to school. Many jobs will pay for you to take classes and get a degree that will allow you to move to another position in the company.
So don’t stress out. Your interests will always be there and whether they have anything to do with your major or not there will always be opportunities to pursue them. A degree does not determine your whole life; it just starts you on the road.
L.C. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org