Monday, July 19, 2010

No major? No sweat.

If you are one of the many students without a major, you've probably heard them all.  Labels like "undecided", "undeclared", "open option", "liberal arts", etc.  The list can go on.  But perhaps the best label I've come across is "exploratory".

Exploring is a good thing.  It is a term that has an adventurous sound to it, and is thought of as a choice, not a by product.

Why shouldn't it be equally positive in education?  Doesn't it make sense to explore your options through experience before committing to a major or career?  Holding out on declaring a choice may be smarter than you think.  By the same token, you can't sit around and expect a career to fall into your lap.  Be proactive - and here is how.

Ask Yourself
-spend some time evaluating your strengths and asking yourself what you want in a work environment in order to be successful and happy.

-use online resources from this site and from the Transfer/Career Advisor to research majors and careers that interest you and/or match your strengths and values

Get Involved
-find ways to be active in your interest areas, whether it be volunteering or interning, or just a simple informational interview with someone in the business, getting involved is the best way to find what fits (or doesn't) right away

Many four-year degrees require about two years worth of general education requirements.  If you use this time wisely, you can be creative in your course selection in a way that allows you to fulfill interest areas while still meeting basic requirements.  This period should also be spent doing the activities listed above to help in the decision making process. 

Why do so many students change their majors?  Much has to do with the lack of preparedness to make the decision the first time.  Exploring these steps can help reduce the stress of multiple changes, still allow for progress to be made, and eliminate wasted credits.

So stop sweating the fact that your entire group of friends has a major, and you do not.  Instead turn it into a positive, and use your time exploring your options wisely.  You may find it makes a "major" difference in your career development.

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