Great Expectations? Let’s Just Start With Appropriate Ones First
Last week I talked about how some of you, as high school seniors, are trying to make your final decision on where you will enroll for the fall. It’s definitely not an easy decision to make, especially when there are probably several people chiming in with opinions. If you missed the post, check it out here.
This week, I want to talk about a decision that those of you are high school juniors are trying to make: what you will major in.
While some of the students I work with have been locked into a major for some time, I have others who are struggling with the decision. The reasons for the indecision are numerous but I would bet that you would recognize one or more of these:
“I’m afraid of picking the wrong thing. What if I go somewhere for one major and find out I really wanted something else and that school doesn’t have it?”
“I really love music, but I just don’t know if I can do anything with it in my life.”
“It’s hard. I have a lot of interests and what ends up happening is that whatever I am most into at the moment is what I think I want to do. But then something else comes along, and I want to change my mind. I just like so many things.”
If any of these stances do, my best advice to you right now is to relax. That’s right. Just relax.
First of all, it’s April of your junior year. It’s too early to be worried about a major right now when you should really be focused on doing well in your fourth quarter.
Secondly, unless you are interested in a pre-professional program like engineering, accounting, or nursing, your major may not even matter.
There. I said it. Let me say it again: Your major may not even matter.
Notice I said “may” and not “will.” Sometimes it will matter and I wrote a piece about this very idea last year. But, for the most part, it won’t matter.
What will matter is connecting with your professors and helping them get to know you so that they can introduce you to people or opportunities where you will develop professional skills.
What will matter is completing an internship or five of them. Experience is EVERYTHING.
What will matter is working hard, not just to acquire knowledge for a test but to become the owner of that knowledge for a lifetime.
What will matter is joining clubs and organizations and learning how to network with your peers and other professionals. Someday, you may work with some of them. Someday, some of them may work for you.
Now, this is not to say that you should just blindly begin your college search and application process with total disregard to a major. But it is to say that you shouldn’t set such great expectations for yourself. So, don’t worry too much about what you think your major is or even what it should be right now. Instead, spend some time figuring out what your VIPS are and then let them help inform your journey.
If you have any thoughts on picking a major or setting (un)realistic expectations, please use the comment section below. If you want some help figuring out your VIPS and what they mean for you, email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 203.525.4096.