Choosing a Major: Find What You Like To Do

One of the challenges that every college student has to face is choosing a major. You will usually be required to declare a major by the end of your second year; fortunately, this timeframe gives you a little time to think about it and make an informed decision that you’ll be happy with for the rest of your college career and—hopefully—the rest of your life.

One of the most cliché answers to the question “How do I choose my major?” is “Find what you like to do.” While this is good advice, it’s fairly unclear on how to go about finding such things.

For example:

  1. What if your favorite thing to do is play hockey? Does your school offer a degree in hockey playing? Probably not.
  2. What if the highlight of your week is the one day that you go to the local animal shelter and play with the animals? Are you fortunate enough to be able to take a class called “Playing with Animals”? Unlikely.
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So what do you do?

It’s in situations like these where you have to be a little creative in adapting what you like to do to what you want to study.

Let’s take the first example above. Playing professional hockey, while it would satisfactorily answer the “What do you like to do?” question, is not a viable option for the vast majority of student athletes. So what else can you study that could be related to hockey? It helps to think about who else is involved in the sport.

For example, which types of people, other than players, do teams hire? There are athletic trainers, doctors, public relations teams, business administrators, and equipment managers, to name a few. So majoring in athletic training, medicine, public relations or business administration might be a way to stay involved with the sport.

Becoming a sports journalist would also allow you to be close to the action, not only during the hockey season, but during the rest of the year as well. With a little creative thinking, it’s easy to think of several degrees that fit your interests.

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As for the second example, the same strategy can be applied. Which degrees will allow you to work with animals? Veterinary medicine is an obvious choice, but something like non-profit business administration or public relations may also be worth considering. Places like animal shelters and adoption agencies have business needs as well, so they will be looking for people who are passionate about animals but also have the skills to help them succeed in the business world.

Choosing a major can be stressful, but if you take the time and think about what you like to do and how you can use your education to keep you involved in that field, you’ll make a choice that you can be proud of.