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Choosing the major you love

Preparing for the future by adjusting the present

Picking a fulfilling major is paramount to having a rewarding college experience.

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Picking a fulfilling major is paramount to having a rewarding college experience.

Aimee Coons, Staff Writer

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School has started. We are five weeks into the semester and…you hate one of your classes. Unfortunately, this class is required specifically for your major. Don’t panic; we have all been in this position.

Depending on what this class is, it might be a huge game changer for you. You might start thinking, “What if I am not supposed to be in this major?” I came to that very realization in a biology class. At the time, I was a pre-physical therapy major. The medical field fascinates me, but I hate science classes and consequently struggled through them.

I also realized that I missed reading books, even the required ones. So I switched my major from pre-PT to English. I couldn’t have been happier.

After I changed my major, all the chatter among my freshman and sophomore classmates made me realize how much pressure they felt to immediately declare a major and stick with it. This pressure is unfounded.

Many factors determine one’s choice of a major, such as: what am I good at? What do I like? Will my parents approve of this major? Will I earn any money with this degree?

In my opinion, the questions “what am I good at?” and “what do I like?” should be the only factors in this decision-making process. We have all heard the saying “do what you love.” If our jobs or careers are what we love to do, we will be happy.

But this is not the case for most workers. A 2013 Gallup poll and data analysis reported that 90 percent of workers encounter frustration and lack of fulfillment in their work.

So, what does job satisfaction have to do with picking a major?

Rather than majoring in a prestigious field, pick one that puts your passions first. Really. It’s OK to explore different routes  to your passions.

I should know. I have changed my major four times in the course of my college career.

Carl Straumsheim of insidehigherid.com reports that surveys taken by the Educational Advisory Board, a company researching academic business and student success, show that 80 percent of college students will switch their major at some point during their time at college. The UND Registrar’s Office reports 996 changes in majors between August 21, 2016 and August 20, 2017. These statistics show that it is 100 percent normal for students to change their majors.

Furthermore, there should be no shame associated with changing majors. Many students put unnecessary pressure on themselves to have their lives figured out as soon as they get out of high school. This pressure is not helped by society, family or friends. When I got out of high school, I was constantly asked, “Where are you going to college? What are you majoring in? Where are you going to work when you get out of college? Are you going to have the average 2.5 children and maybe a minivan?”

So, maybe I didn’t literally get asked all of those questions, but the point is high school graduates and college students in general seem to be expected to answer a smorgasbord of unreasonable questions about their future. It’s good to have an idea and back up ideas of what you are going to do with your life, but you don’t need to put pressure on yourself to absolutely know what your life plan is. The truth of the matter is that life has plans of its own and we are simply along for the ride.

Aimee Coons is an opinion writer for Dakota Student. She can be reached at  aimee.coons@und.edu

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Choosing the major you love