How to know if you’ve chosen the right major

Life is made up of an incalculable amount of choices.

And for college students, choosing a major could be the most difficult process.

When tentative teens are prompted with, “What do you want to do with your life”, symptoms and signs of stress may start to settle in the body.

“Deciding on a degree is obviously important in the sense that it helps students create, write down and kind of pursue a goal,” Brendan McCrudden, Associate Director of Student Success said. “I think there are a lot of times where students feel this pressure to decide sometimes too quickly.”

Even a predisposed individual who has their life already planned out, may experience a change of heart.

“We found that often times students will potentially change their major two or three more times throughout their career here,” McCrudden said.

Kristen Liesen, Director, Experiential Learning, says some students are up for the intimidating commitment as it propels them to pursue and discover what they want to do.

But for others, more time is needed.

“Meet with your success coach and decide, ‘what were your favorite classes in high school’, ‘what is your favorite hobby or passion’, ‘what jobs have you liked and what did you specifically like about that job,” Liesen said. “Visit some sites, job shadow, or ask friends and family about their job.”

An office visit with Liesen could comprise of an assessment in which presents a student to explore jobs related to their personality, traits, skills, and self-reported abilities.

“My favorite thing to do is informational interviews where students ask someone in a field they’re interested in questions,” Liesen said. “Not just the general questions of ‘how much do you make’ or what kind of degree do I need to have’, but more of the ‘what excites you’, ‘what’s a downfall’, ‘what’s something you didn’t expect’ and so they find the real ins and outs of that career.

That dread of attending a lecture, an unsettling feeling in your stomach, the lack of interest in the internship you’re at, and being bored in the classroom can confirm you’re not on the right career path.

“I try to tell students, like, I wake up every morning excited to be at QU, excited to come and help students, so I am very happy and satisfied with my job,” Liesen said. “I know a lot of people that dread getting up the next day and it’s more of a job to go to your job.”

Liesen highly encourages her students to explore and self-reflect.

McCrudden recommends the most important thing a scholar can do is gain as much knowledge as possible about the career option, in addition, to go getting some hands-on experience.

“I feel like a lot of people look up the salary for a certain role and they decide that’s it, that’s their nest egg and they don’t really look into what it takes to get there,” McCrudden said. “Ask someone to shadow, ask someone to sit down and talk to you a little bit about the process and the steps they took to get where they are and see if that is something you’re interested in pursuing still.”

McCrudden and Liesen and are available for assistance in the Student Success Center.

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