The Major Mayhem: Struggling To Choose A Major

Dear Judge Josh,

I’m a freshman at a liberal arts college, and I’ve been struggling to choose a major for a while now. I’ve always been passionate about both the arts and sciences, so narrowing down my options has been tough. I’m really interested in psychology, but I also love writing and literature. My parents, who are both engineers, have been pushing me towards a more “practical” major, like computer science or finance. I can see their point, but I’m not sure I’d be happy in those fields. I feel like I need to make a decision soon to plan my courses accordingly. How can I figure out what I should study without disappointing my parents or myself?

Hey Major Mayhem,

It’s completely normal to feel overwhelmed when trying to choose a major, especially when you have diverse interests. The good news is, you don’t have to limit yourself to just one field of study. Here are some steps to help you make the best decision for you:

  1. Self-Reflection: Take some time to think about your strengths, interests, and long-term goals. What subjects excite you? Are there specific career paths that appeal to you? Reflecting on these questions will give you a clearer idea of which majors might align with your passions.
  2. Course Sampling: Before committing to a major, try taking courses in different subjects. You could take an intro psychology class, a literature course, and maybe even dip your toes into computer science or finance. This way, you can test the waters and see which subjects truly captivate you.
  3. Double Major or Minor: If you find that you’re still passionate about multiple subjects, consider a double major or a major-minor combination. This allows you to pursue both your interests in psychology and writing, while also appeasing your parents with a more “practical” minor like finance.
  4. Seek Advice: Reach out to professors, academic advisors, or older students who have pursued similar interests. They might provide insights or share their own experiences, which could help inform your decision.
  5. Focus on Skills: Remember that many employers value transferable skills like critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving over specific majors. So, even if you choose a major your parents consider less “practical,” you can still develop valuable skills that will make you marketable in various fields.

At the end of the day, it’s essential to choose a path that resonates with you and aligns with your passions. While it’s important to consider your parents’ opinions, remember that this is your life and your education. Stay true to yourself, and you’re more likely to succeed and be happy in the long run.

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