Your major isn’t actually all that major

One of the comments on my last post (shout out to Kaleb – thanks for the inspiration), mentioned the label that seems to come with one’s major or degree in college.

I think we can all relate to this. In fact, when I meet incoming freshmen I always tell them to have their answers ready for the three main questions they will get asked on a regular basis when meeting new people in college:

1. What is your name? (should be an easy one)

2. Where are you from? (only complicated for military kids or other people who have moved a lot)

3. What is your major? (the cringe-inducer for those who are still undecided)

Those three questions are your first definition in college, whether you like it or not. I don’t blame people at all for asking these questions, after all I have done it many a time because it is undoubtedly the best way to learn some basic information about a person and, at times, hopefully start required small talk.

Yet it often feels unfair that we are pinned down to these things, especially our major. Mostly since, after talking to many adults and working people, it is clear that your major isn’t actually all that major – it just doesn’t make as big of a difference as we are told. The majority of people I have talked to say that their undergraduate degree has almost nothing to do with what they are doing now. Now I know anyone on track to be a doctor, nurse, or teacher is an exception to this, but not everyone is meant to be in those professions. In fact I think the majority of us will be in the more undefined professional areas, ones that are gained not through a specific certificate but through being able to apply any of those skills.

I understand that having a career plan is a good idea, but should we pick majors simply because they will get us to a specific job? That actually seems less realistic than waiting till the time comes to find a job, because things will change and not all of us will be in the same specific careers forever.

A major should be viewed more openly and less exclusively so that we aren’t bounded or defined by this one choice – when the time comes a major is only one part of the bigger picture of ourselves that we can present to employers.

Funny thought: if Jesus came to our world today, supposing he lived the same lifespan of around 30 years, most likely he would’ve had to go to college – what do you think his major would be? Either way, would it have made much of a difference to the way he loved people or how he made an impact in the lives around him? My guess is probably not – but what are you thoughts?

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