No major yet? Don’t fret, college students

My cousin (-in-law) graduated from high school in the spring, and I was super proud of him.

He was among the top academic performers in a Lubbock-area class that seemed to be an extremely competitive group. That, and like his older sister, he’s just a good person raised by good people. Many of his classmates seemed to have a college and a major chosen, and several others were headed to the military or other fields in lieu of college.

They all seemed a mile—make that 10 miles—ahead of where I was as an 18-year-old.

When I graduated high school, I still didn’t know where I was going to college, let alone what I would major in once I got there. Couldn’t I just do 12th grade over again?

Fortunately, I was able to enroll in a good college that had already accepted me right before its enrollment deadline. Once there, though, it seemed like everyone but me knew what they were majoring in and how to get on the path to being successful. I felt lost in a sea of people way smarter than me.

Furthermore, if I didn’t choose a major by the second semester of my sophomore year, I wouldn’t be allowed to continue attending college, according to university policy. I was of those folks who was interested in some fields but not enough so to choose one as a major—what a huge decision!

It’s August, and colleges will be resuming classes soon. If you or someone you know doesn’t have a major yet and is clueless as I was, there’s no reason to panic even though it might feel that way. Just give your major some thought in terms of what you like or what you’re good at. And furthermore, people often go into fields and occupations that aren’t directly related to their major anyway. I know a lot of people who have.

I’ve also heard that choosing where you want to be—in terms of a city or a geographic region—once you get out of school is a good way to determine a major.

I think renewable energy is fascinating, and there are massive wind farms in west Texas and in the western U.S., some of which I saw while driving to my cousin (-in-law’s) graduation. Since I wanted to live in Texas eventually, while in college I might have chosen engineering as my major, for example, so I could work on those giant windmills. If you’re interested in living in Austin or San Francisco, perhaps, a technology field is wise to pursue. If you want to be able to live anywhere, health and education are perhaps the best fields for that.

I am of the opinion that no matter which major you choose, as long as you graduate, find a job of some sort and work harder than anyone else, you can be successful somehow. You don’t necessarily have to stay in one place or one job forever, depending on your circumstances, and you may even decide to go to graduate school for further education once you figure out life a little more.

But going to grad school would, of course, require you to choose a major.

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