Choosing Your College Major – Aileen’s Story
As a college student, the biggest decision you can make after picking which school to attend is choosing your college major. Your major, for better or for worse, will determine which job options are available after school. To talk about this high stakes game of choosing your college major, we turn to Aileen Gutierrez, a student at Wuhan University, to tell her personal story about this process.
Even if you’re just beginning college, it’s never too early to start thinking about choosing your college major. I made this important decision in high school. During freshman year, my parents recommended that I choose either engineering or finance. Despite my poor math skills, I found science more interesting; I could spend hours wondering why ice floats on water, or pondering how cells divide. I found these questions in nature particularly fascinating, so I picked engineering and began applying to universities.
(Skipping the gruesome details of the college admissions process) Wuhan University accepted me to study environmental engineering. In China, freshmen have one month of military training– I used that month to get to know the city and take some classes, including an environmental engineering course. I quickly began to doubt my decision; I noticed it took effort (and some reminding) to read up on the latest science news, but I enjoyed reading about economics or business unprompted. I was naturally interested in economics and business and, in the end, I switched my major.
In conclusion, here are some steps to help you choose your major:
1. Be realistic about your skills, and spend more time developing them (this doesn’t mean to give up on your areas of weakness. Instead, nurture what you already have).
2. Appreciate what you’re naturally interested in. You will spend a lot of time learning about your chosen major, so it should be something you want to do, not something that you have to force yourself into. By extension, don’t force yourself into a field you aren’t truly interested in.
3. Be strategic. Make a plan that includes your classes, your specialization within your major, and any skills you’d like to develop for a future career.
Remember– Start thinking about your major early, but don’t be afraid to change your mind.