Nittany News Lehigh Valley

Don’t know your major yet? Don’t fret, you still have time to decide.

Still debating on what your true aspirations are? Don't worry, you have time, but don't take it for granted.

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Don’t know your major yet? Don’t fret, you still have time to decide.

Courtesy of Maiconfz -- Pixabay

Courtesy of Maiconfz -- Pixabay

Courtesy of Maiconfz -- Pixabay

Grant Stives, Staff Writer

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Where do you stand, are you confident with your career choice?

Major Stress.

Still unaware of your major? Don’t worry, you are apart of 465,000 other full time students and counting who are unsure about what exactly they want to pursue. After all, depending on what school district you graduated from, you either had or didn’t have the funding to offer classes that tied to your interests. Being a graduate of the Bethlehem Area School District, that was the case… Actually, it was a hit or miss, luckily, there were school clubs that compensated for the shortcomings in funding. Fortunately, PLTW (Project Lead the Way) and STEM curriculum have received government funding and have structurally improved. As of the 2017-2018 school year, AP Computer Science A/B are courses students could opt to take.  But what if you aren’t interested in technology? You may still be taking a swing in the dark.

Let’s Peak At the Numbers For A Minute…

According to the University of La Verne, 50-70% of U.S Students change their majors in their college career. Many will also adjust their academic curriculum based on their career pathway modifications at least three times during their time in college. Yikes, it that a big chunk of the US population. To put that into perspective, the National Center for Education Statistics, reports that there are approximately 20.1 million college students nationwide — So approximately 10-15.1 million college students are changing their majors! WHAT?

Why Do So Many Student Change Majors?

Think back to when you were a little kid, are you still looking at becoming a doctor, a police officer, firefighter, or teacher? Most students in the U.S change their majors because they are discovering their strong suits. Chad Davis, freshman at PSULV, explained: “I changed my major twice, first one was business, second and current is psychology.” Davis has a passion for both, and explains that though he enjoys both, he is leaning toward psychology, particularly counseling than medical, as it pulls greater interest. He is just another example of what many students can probably relate to.

If you told 7 year old me back in elementary school that I was going to go into Penn State University as a SRA major, I would say you’re crazy; (I always had aspirations to become a Computer Engineer and attend MIT) however, my interests changed. Also I never realized how much money was spent on education until my siblings attended college years later. I couldn’t comprehend the idea of spending $50,000 per year in an institution when I could attend another institution in-state for less, with equal educational value. Though there was monetary reasons I never attended MIT, I also realized as I started high school that securing is the future profession. In a time where Information Security is more important than ever, I decided to embark on the SRA pathway, consulting many IT majors in the staff of my schools IT Department. The one person who changed my perspective on everything was our IT CIO, who was a cyber security major.

This brings me to my next point… It is okay to change pathways. The last think you want to be is $100,000 you can pay thousands in student loans, but do you really want to have the job just for the money? As Steve Jobs explained, “The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”

A final and very important reason many students drop their major or change it is because of the golden word: MONEY. Money is a reasonable reason for choosing a major, but don’t expect it to be the right reason. So go ahead, take the pathway of your major hoping it may make you rich one day, but be wary, passion ultimately outweighs money… Every. Single. Time.  Jobs also was one to point out, as pioneer of the top technology firms, that “Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn’t matter to me “Going to bed at night saying we’ve done something wonderful ” that’s what matters to me”. I believe that quote is something everyone can carry around with them.

So What Should You Do?

Don’t be stressed, discover, go out into the world, ask questions, be observant, take your hobbies into account, and explore! I recommend going to career fairs, talking with friends, exploring all the different options out there. The biggest benefit to school is that the majority of the time, your Gen Ed’s will be taken care of the first two years, the last two are based on major and profession. If you still aren’t sure, go with your gut, you will never know if you made the right decision until you try. Take that leap of faith!

I’ll leave a final Steve Jobs quote (You will see I refer to him frequently as he is one of the most motivational mentors in my life.)…

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something–your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

Good luck on your choices!

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Don’t know your major yet? Don’t fret, you still have time to decide.