Choosing a path – how stressed are you about declaring the major?
Do things really change in principle while going through young adulthood, being open to possibilities and actively exploring them, but soon “having” to make the “right” choice for the long run? Of course today I am much more aware of the world in which I live, and maybe I could express my intuition regarding its complexities, but really, how much exposure did I get to any specific domain of knowledge so far? And given the complexity of most human activities today, how much time would I really need to decide that I will hold a long-term interest in something that otherwise appears to be attractive? One more still: I know people – maybe including myself, thinking that a certain area of knowledge would really not be their thing in the future, only to re-discover it later as a much more rewarding intellectual experience, and in some cases even build a passion for. To top it all, even if we have to declare a major, college is a generally formative environment, where you want to build critical thinking abilities - we are being told. Aren’t all these concerns good enough reason not to take this “declaring a major” topic too seriously or too definitively?
Of course, that is if you have the freedom to look at it only like that…
Aside from the background knowledge of the specific domain that you are considering, a demonstrable strength in communication, being a team player and a critical thinker are being quoted as primary points of interest for many employers. Sure enough, a third of a million college graduates that become unemployed early, along with many others that settle for low-end jobs unrelated to their majors, will argue about those “points of interest” as being at least insufficient for a student to look into. The economic slowdown and the forever increasing number of yearly college graduates are variables that we cannot do much about. What happens to many of us struggling to pay for education or trying to avoid a long term slavery of loan payments after graduation, is that we decide to re-focus on majors that seem economically viable on the short term; how is that for freedom of choice? And for those of us that go to college while parents fully pay for everything, the prospects do not differ at all should we decide to become fully independent after graduation.
So where should I place myself among these viewpoints? I am hopeful that the freedom to explore academically will give me a much more satisfying future but I fear for a future that does not depend on me exclusively. An interdisciplinary area might theoretically strike a middle ground between opening my thinking in many directions and some hope for future employment opportunities. However, a middle ground is just that, coming with trade-offs attached, therefore, the need to study more after graduation comes first to mind.
Your take on this?