| By Ally Mueller |
For many students and professionals, the time comes when you may begin to second-guess your decision to major in a particular subject, or pursue a specific career path. While this understandably frightens many people, do not panic. The decisions to choose a major and pursue a career are both important ones, but they do not have to be permanent decisions, and in fact, rarely are. Very few people go into college with an idea of what they want to do, and even fewer college graduates immediately find a career that best suits them. If you have found yourself at a roadblock in your studies or career, read on to gain some helpful tips about how to best overcome these obstacles.
If you are second guessing your major:
- Think about why you chose your major in the first place, and consider whether or not the reasons for choosing have changed since you originally made that decision. If you chose the major because you enjoy the subject, contemplate whether or not you still enjoy it. If you chose the major because you thought you would be good at it, and your grades have been below average in the courses associated with your major, it may be a good idea to rethink your options. It’s important to find a major that you can both excel at and enjoy.
- Don’t make the decision alone. Talk to your parents, academic advisor,
career center, and faculty members of your current major and possible new major. This will allow you to hear a number of opinions, discuss alternatives, and hear what your professors like about their field. After fully analyzing your options, you will be able to make the best possible decision.
- Ask yourself the following question: “What am I not happy about with my major?” If you are concerned about job prospects, it is a great idea to come to the Career Center to talk with a career counselor about potential job options in your field. If you are bored with your classes, try to determine why you are bored. Is it because the class is easy, or is because the subject matter fails to interest you? If the boredom stems from it being an easy course, don’t be afraid to take an upper division class in that major next semester to see if the subject matter becomes more interesting to you when taught at a higher level.
- Remember that choosing your major is not the same thing as choosing a career. Careers have many points of entry, and most jobs consider applicants from a wide range of backgrounds and majors. If you enjoy your major, chances are that you will be able to find an applicable and relatable career that you also like.
If you are second guessing your career:
- Reexamine your original goals that you had when you began your career. Why did you decide to work at this organization? What were you hoping to gain out of this experience? Consider if your goals have been accomplished and/or if you are still passionate about the organization.
- Decide if you need more or less challenging work. Oftentimes, people become dissatisfied in their jobs because their work is either too easy for them or too challenging and stressful. If you realize that your work is too difficult or too easy, try to figure out a way to improve this at your current organization. If your work is too easy, maybe try talking to your boss about taking a small amount of time each week to work on a special project.
- Remember that it is okay to leave. If you have tried to make your current job work for you, and it simply isn’t getting any better, go with your gut feeling and try to find an exit route. It is perfectly normal to leave an organization, and it is important to be doing something you enjoy.
While all of the above statements may help you to make your decision, remember to take your time (but try not to overthink!) this decision—it is an important one that many people make over the course of their lifetimes. Be sure to draw upon your resources as well, and remember that you are not alone in this endeavor.