Tips for College Students: How to Pursue a Major That Fits Your Passion

Choosing your major is no simple task, but a multi-faceted decision. And YES, it’s a lot to try to nail down at once – not only are you selecting a major but also a college and a future career. Not to mention, what if you don’t know what you want to do after graduation? Rest assured, it’s okay and totally normal, and there are several ways for you to figure out your field of study.

First, take a moment to reflect on what you love about life and what makes you come alive inside. Do you enjoy science, fashion, writing, art? Your interests are essential and can actually become a field of study at various universities and colleges. Here are a few tips to help you find a major you’re passionate about.

Focus on Your Abilities and Values
Your career choice is an opportunity to explore deeper into areas of personal interest. Consider your strengths, attributes and what matters to you. When looking at universities, this step can help you eliminate any majors that do not align with your abilities and beliefs. Look at professions that speak to your moral principle versus jobs that make a certain amount of money.

As Mark Twain once said, “find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” The major you select serves as the guide during your time in college and also, in many cases, your future. If you choose an occupation that provides a sense of joy early on, then your time at school won’t feel like studying, but instead, you’ll have fun with your work.

Take a Test
Several tests and quizzes can help you assess which field of study to pursue for your college major. Loyola offers a  free test that can provide some clarity on the degrees that align best with your personality and ideas. Spend a few minutes answering the list of questions to discover which profession is the best fit for you.

Try to interview professionals in the role that you think that you may want to have in the future. Search for individuals through LinkedIn or utilize your community network. Also, your college career center can help connect you to alumni within your field of study.

Investing a few minutes upfront to speak to others can save yourself years of heartache – especially if you learn that this job is not what you envisioned. Additionally, having these informational sessions will help build your network for future internships or even jobs.

Professional Groups
Most professions have an association and will invite students to join. The membership level is not only cheaper, but it provides you one-on-one access to individuals in a career field that interests you. Many organizations host area conferences, webinars or monthly meetings. Their websites are a great resource and tend to have content that can help guide your decision with career trends and professional tips.

The Future of Your Career
Not all passions and ideas can translate into a career. When looking at which major to select, consider the longevity of your decision. Approach your time at college with a broader scope in mind, such as history, rather than focusing on a specific field of study such as Latin American studies of the 1860s, as it could narrow your job prospects.

Consider a Gap Year
If you are still trying to decide what passion or strengths you want to focus on while at college, then consider taking some time off to make your choice. There is nothing wrong with being undecided as many college students are, and a gap year can give you the time to find perspective.

There Is Time
Depending on your university or college, you may not have the ability to select a major until your sophomore year. Your degree choice is a significant one and a decision that you shouldn’t rush to pick. Instead, take time to be intentional about your choice.

Majors Can Change
Changing majors happens, and once you start to dive deeper into the subject matter, you may decide that this field of study isn’t for you. Look at the prerequisites and any requirements before spending your resources and time on studying a topic that you are not 100% behind. Do not feel that you are limited to the choices a college offers; there is always an opportunity to select an individual field of study.

Research the Alumni
Reflect on the expert advice from your research and any interviews that you’ve conducted and then look at your college’s alumni. Do they have a global reach, or is everyone from that same city or region of the state? How connected is the school with professionals in your chosen field? Your network after graduation is essential when trying to secure that first and second job.

Things to Consider
Overall, it’s important to remember that when looking at the list of majors your college offers, try to narrow your list down to the ones that cater to your values, passions and abilities. Think about the longevity of your degree and if it will last with the ever-changing marketplace. You want to work upon graduation but think about the time from college to the golden years of retirement. Is your degree future-proof?

College is a time for you to find yourself while having a well-rounded experience. Learn how to turn your passion from a general hobby or interest into something that earns an income. Make it your goal before attending your commencement to know that your field of study is what you want to do after graduation. Taking the time to prepare for your success in both college and your career is the best way to invest in your dreams – your future self will thank you.

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