Your College Major: What to Choose?

I was watching a women's gymnastic meet on the Big 10 Network the other day. They always do a decent job of providing background information about the athletes. One thing that really surprised me, though, was the number of of gymnasts who had no specifically declared major in their profile. The phrases “Undeclared Major" and “Major Pending" appeared more than several times on the screen as the participants from the three Big 10 schools prepared to execute their routines. This got me to thinking.

I recalled my own transition from high school to college. In high school, I fancied myself as a reasonably decent writer but back in those dim days of higher education, there were no fancy majors that focused on developing specialized kinds of writing skills, like there are today. I could have studied journalism but that was a bit “dry," as I explained it to anyone who was inquiring about what I wanted to study in college. There were so-called “creative writing" courses, but nothing more elaborate than that. Thus, any creative writing inspiration I sought was available only as a mere elective. Consequently, I made a “default" decision about choosing a major and chose Business Administration, which, back in those plain-vanilla practical days got approving nods from my friends' parents and my older relatives.

“Solid choice, Dave! You'll always be able to find a job with a degree in business." I heard a number of variations on that theme during Thanksgiving break. One problem, though: I hated my introductory business courses, especially accounting. Even now, I cringe at the memory of my first ever all-nighter, trying to get my balance sheets to balance as I raced to complete that particularly nasty end-of-semester project. Clearly, I wasn't a numbers guy. I was a word guy trapped by my circumstances and forced into a bad-fit major.

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