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You’ve finally made it! You’ve endured four years of mediocre football, that really bad smelling French teacher and awkward prom photos that your mom insisted you take. Now, you’re ready for college, where the school spirit promises to be hypnotic, the party scene will be nothing less than spectacular, and you have the freedom to choose your classes. Say goodbye to chaperones and the assistant principal who had it in for you—college is going to be awesome!
But wait—have you taken the time to decide what to major in? Given any thought to life after college when you’ll be in the “real world?” Now’s the time to do so. Consider these five tips before choosing you’re major—you’ll be glad you did!
1. Consult Your Hobbies.
Consider what you do during your free time. This is one of the best ways to uncover what you are passionate about, and subsequently the type of employment you would actually enjoy. Ultimately, it is crucial that you are excited about the work you will be doing, so take time to think about what you enjoy doing on your own and then explore the career options in which you could do that.
2. Study the Projected Earnings for the Future.
Though your first priority when choosing a major should be essentially choosing a career you are excited about, it is also important to consider the financial repercussions of that decision. Will you be able to live comfortably with that type of salary? Are there other financial obligations that need be considered, such as student loan debt? Keeping this in mind will help you in striking the balance between both a career you are enthusiastic about as well as one that will meet all of your financial demands.
3. Look at Future Job Outlook.
Consider the job outlook for each major you are considering. Does the outlook look good? Is it a growing industry? These are important matters to consider in terms of job security. You don’t want to get caught up in a job that’s nearing extinction (think of elevator operators and milkmen) or that produces a product or service that will soon evoke feelings of nostalgia (think VCRs and floppy disks).
4. Consider Your Lifestyle.
Where do you envision yourself in five years? Ten years? Are you settled in the suburbs of Boston with a home and family? Putting in 90-hour weeks working amongst a team of lawyers in Burnaby, British Columbia? Traveling the world working as an international food critic? The answers to these questions should carry significant weight when considering your major. If you envision yourself as a family man or woman who spends the evenings watching Netflix and packing lunches, perhaps a career with heavy time commitments or large amounts of travel are not for you.
5. Take Note of the Time Commitment.
Take a while to think about the time commitment you will be investing given your major of choice. Is it something that is going to require further education beyond the traditional four-year tract, such as graduate school or a medical degree? Knowing about all of the demands of the major (in order to land the job) before investing your time, money, and energy into it will help you in better deciding whether a major is for you.
College is an exciting time—don’t do yourself the disservice of lackadaisically skirting through the easiest of classes or haphazardly choosing a major. The decisions you make now will have an effect on your future job, your future earnings, and ultimately your future happiness.
Michael David is a freelance journalist and blogger living in New York City. Michael loves writing about DIY projects, home improvement, and garden-related topics. Most recently he has expounded his love for helping people learn about home improvement to helping them learn more about issues regarding education, employment and legal advice, particularly from such companies like Valerie M. Little Family Law, as it is a growing area of interest for him.