Steps Towards Choosing a Major (Part 1)

If you’re a senior in high school who’s feeling more and more panicky as you approach graduation because the uncertainty of a major is constantly in the back of your mind, then I understand your pain. Indecisive is probably one of the best words to describe me.

Throughout high school, I probably changed what I wanted to major in at least 8 times. Some of my indecisiveness came from the fear of committing (as far as psychologically, since you can always switch while in school) to a major because it meant limiting myself and missing out on all the other majors out there. Some of it was conflicting ideas of what I could see myself doing, and what I actually wanted to do. Feeling like I didn’t know all the different options out there was also a huge part of it as well. As for the rest of it, well, it was just what makes me so indecisive in the first place.

If you’re like me, and despite the people who are telling you not to worry, that you- “you still have time”-yet you continue to worry anyways, then I would really like to help you out. Hopefully, this way, I will make you feel less worried, save you some money (as far as taking classes you didn’t need to if you do decide to switch in college), and maybe prevent you from making some of the mistakes that I did!

First of all, I do want to tell you that you do have time. I’m not here to tell you to start panicking more and that you need to pick now. I’m here to assist you and give you the tools you need to help narrow it down and come closer, or maybe even at the step of deciding, a major that is right for you.

First off, brainstorm your ideas of #1. what your interests are,# 2. what your personality traits are, and #3. what subjects/activities you do well in. Then, get them down on paper so you can visually see everything at once. Seeing it will help you put the whole picture together and dissect the information.

Next, with your list, study it with picking a major in mind. The order to study it in that I recommend is as follows: interests –> personality traits –> subjects you do well in. By studying your list in this order, which brings us to the next step, it prevents you from crossing out things you shouldn’t in the elimination process. Why do I say this? Your interests are at the top of the list because you even though you might think that your best subjects are more important, if you don’t have much of a passion in that given subject or if it doesn’t align with your interests, then it’s not something you should base a decision on that effects your future life. As for personality traits coming second, they are so important because in the working place, you are going to want to be fit for the job, and this means having the characteristics that each job entails. It’s one thing do be interested in a job, but entirely another to actually be able to do it.

Now, let me give you my own personal example of what I mean by all this. I took an AP psychology course in high school and did very well in it. The tricky part was that I also was very interested in this subject. However, I loved biology at the same time, but absolutely hated chemistry, yet I knew that I did have some interests in the science field. So, with Benedictine having both an awesome school of science and school of psychology, I ended up here. Then, first semester I took one psych class while taking some core and sciences classes that I needed to fulfill. Although I did exceptionally well in the psych class and enjoyed every minute of it, my professor, who was a substance abuse counselor (my prime interest in this field) when she wasn’t teaching, always shared her experiences. It wasn’t until then, that as much as I was interested and and did well in the class, I couldn’t see myself actual doing what she did. I just didn’t have the personality for it.

So, with that being said, try making that list and then crossing out what you find necessary in the order I suggested. That way, in part 2, I will try and help you eliminate more and bring you closer to deciding. Do not worry if you have interests on your list after the elimination process that line up with subjects you don’t do particularly well in- mine did the same! I will be here to help you out in part 2!

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