“How Did You Pick You Major?” That was the question. The BetterGrads “College 101 Blog” kicked off 2011 with a special series titled “How I Picked My Major.” Guest contributors were asked to tell their personal story of picking a college major–how they did it, why they picked it, and what kind of challenges they faced. We thank the writers of this special series for their candor and willingness to share their stories. Here are some highlights from the series: Journal Your Path “I decided that my career choice should be based on my two greatest loves: history and writing. Searching for colleges with these areas of study was easy. However, my criteria of [disability] support services really narrowed down the list.” Michael Roppolo Rochester Institute of Technolgoy Don’t Make Me Choose “Being undeclared was a real adventure for me. … Every class I took had me strangely captivated: the [...]
“I want to be the President of the United States!” is no longer an acceptable answer to the dinner table question: “What are you going to be when you grow up?” Increasingly as I grew older, the question turned from who I was going to be to what I was going to do. As a political science major, I am constantly asked which party I belong to, what I think of Obama’s healthcare policy, and whether or not I’ll be pursuing law school. The frequency of the limited range of these questions reflect the common misunderstandings related to my major. I first heard of the term “political science” during my senior year of high school.
At first, I thought I was way ahead of the game because I came into college with a major declared. However, my political science major was more so a passion for Law and Order: SVU. I came to realize that I could not personally face crime after crime, day after day. As much as I wanted to fight for victims’ rights and justice, I just couldn’t see myself confronting the reality of it all. I had to find something that I was passionate about and actually wanted to dive into. After finding myself at the University of Oregon, the answer became quite clear. How could I go to one the greenest college campuses in the most eco-friendly state and not major in environmental studies?
I never really had a clue what I wanted to be when I grew up. Like many, I was purely interested in what would be the quickest and most financially rewarding. It took a very long time for me to learn that my concept of what is rewarding wasn’t based on the things that are truly important to me at all. I am hoping that if this essay changes even one person’s mind about walking the path that I did, then it might have all been worth it. When I was 16, my first job was working as a bus girl at a local restaurant. I never thought about life after high school, though I should have. I can honestly say that at 16, I was making more money than some adults. But, when I graduated high school, I enrolled in college anyway, majoring in small business management. I had [...]
When I was growing up, I wanted to be an Egyptologist. I loved mummies. I loved hieroglyphics. Often I imagined myself in a tomb, dusting off artifacts, battling scorpions and falling victim to the occasional ancient curse. It didn’t take long for me to realize that what I thought would be the perfect career, just wasn’t so perfect for me. As a senior graduating from high school, I applied to the college closest to my home so I could commute to class rather than move out on my own. I guess moving to Egypt was a little far-fetched. During my first two years as an undergraduate student, I pursued an array of career possibilities. I spent my semesters taking courses within fields I was considering, and a few times, even officially changed my major. I attempted everything from finance to elementary education to marketing.
It all started with a simple question: what do I want to do when I grow up? From a young age, I really wanted a career in reading (specifically, Baby-Sitters Club books), and I wanted to go to college out of state. So I went to Arizona State University (ASU) and majored in journalism. Almost ten years later, I now do marketing for a bank in Pasadena, Calif. Huh? How did I get here? In 6th grade, we had a newspaper unit. I somehow got the editor-in-chief gig, which mainly consisted of giving up recess for a couple of days to try to edit and put the thing together. Despite the extra hours and lack of quality in the final product, I really enjoyed the experience. I realize now that’s where the first journalism seed was planted.
The story of how I chose my major comes in three parts. For a girl who loved everything, I couldn’t choose a major, so I started off undeclared. It would make for a catchy Web series. But being undeclared was a real adventure for me. I was an open book ready to indulge in everything college had to offer, and for those first two years, it was the general education requirements. Basically, the “gen eds” involve a broad range of courses from the humanities, sciences and foreign languages. For someone undeclared, it was supposed to be the perfect tool to direct me to my perfect major. There was one flaw though… I loved everything. Even calculus. Every class I took had me strangely captivated: the idea that you can study men’s behavior in urinal selection in anthropology; how to break social norms in sociology; the integral; photosynthesis; bugs! Yes, I [...]
Unlike many high school students who look at colleges based on the party scene or football team, I looked at colleges based on specific services they provided. As a student with many disabilities, I needed a college that would allow me to access support services for my vision, my hearing and my mobility challenges. As a child, my dream was to become an architect. As I entered my sophomore year of high school, I looked to the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) for its renowned access to support services, as well as its well-known engineering programs. I was interested in architecture. However, I soon realized that the architecture classes became increasingly difficult due to my cerebral palsy. I was not able to manipulate the tools needed to draw, nor could I tell if the measurements displayed on the computer screen would work in real life. I realized that my dream [...]