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What should I do if I discover that my college major is not something that I truly like after upon graduation?

I heard quite a few people saying that their majors are actually not what they want or like after graduation, and that this scared them since they have put some much money, time, and effort in college life.
I wonder how should one cope with such situation? #college-major #career-path #academic-advising #college-advising

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Christopher’s Answer

I believe this situation is quite common. We enter college immediately after high school, then after 2 years or so we are forced to declare a major. It can be very difficult to actually know which major is the right one. College goes by very quickly and before you know it, you may graduate with a degree which you have little interest in or don't know exactly what to do with. Have you tried working in your degree field? It may be beneficial to work a variety of jobs related to your major in order to determine if there are any positions which may interest you. Certain degrees (such as business degrees for example) encompass a wide variety of positions and opportunities which most people are unaware of until they are actually working in the field.

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Jackie’s Answer

Hi Hollie,


I can personally relate to this dilemma, as it happened to me with my Bachelor's degree. Unsure what to take in school, I decided to go with a Film Studies major for my degree. When I graduated school, not only did I not want a career in the film industry, but I couldn't even get a job working in a video rental store in my hometown. I was so uncertain as to what I was going to do with my future.


Luckily, I was able to figure out my career path through internship opportunities, and volunteer experience. My first opportunity was an editorial internship at a magazine, and through my placement, I was able to learn about social media, online blogs and video content, and I developed a variety of skills that helped shape the direction of my career. When I applied, the fact that I had a film background made me seem more unique as a candidate—and more and more, as I have matured in experience, I notice employers seeking out candidates with more 'non-typical' backgrounds, as long as you have some of the primary credentials to meet the job. It just means that you might come at the role with a different perspective, which can be exciting to have. Since being in magazines, I moved over to the advertising industry and I did it by reaching out and trying new opportunities, and growing into the skill sets I need to push ahead in my career.


And I suppose that would be my major point of advice: don't think that your job opportunities are restricted to your degree. A graduate of commerce can be an attractive candidate to the fine arts world, and a candidate with a Spanish degree can work in corporate finance. I would definitely take a look at job boards, for internships as well as careers, and see if there is anything that captures your attention. Notice if there is anything in particular you might need to become a prospective candidate for the position—you might find out that a particular certificate or credential needed, and can work your way towards filling out those job requirements.


Here's an article that I thought would be helpful: 6 Reasons Why Your College Major Doesn't Matter
http://www.forbes.com/sites/ashleystahl/2015/08/12/six-reasons-why-your-college-major-doesnt-matter/5ba0ac6a7977


Hope this helps!
Jackie

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Ken’s Answer

Hi Hollie!


It can be quite catastrophic. One of the most frustrating things that I ran into when i was doing college recruiting was to hire a graduate into a position that was not what he/she had thought it was going to be. After putting all of that time and money into an education and finding out it was not what he/she intended was quite disconcerting -- to say the least.


After that first situation, I became a firm advocate of coop, internship, volunteering, and shadowing programs as a way to prevent that.


I was already an advocate for our two internship students in our shop and had helped create another internship program, so I knew the importance of the career exposure. As the one making sure the interns did not end up on the end of a broom, I made sure that they were getting the maximum benefit from our programs.


As long as people know that you are genuinely seeking information and not expecting them to know of a job, they will be very helpful.


Best of luck on you journey of adventure. I would like to follow your progress. Please keep me informed.

Thank you comment icon Thanks Ken! That's really helpful, and I agree very much with the shoe metaphor that you used in comparison to job fitting. I heard of story where people feeling discouraged by theur unfitting job even with decent amount of salary. I will look into job descriptions more and try my best. Hollie
Thank you comment icon Please let me know more. Are you in a job that you do not like? Are out of work and you are not finding a job that would like? I could give you much more information if you would share more with me. Exactly what is your situation and what are you trying to do? How could I be most helpful? I really would like to help you reach a feeling of self actualization. That is very important. Looking forward to learning and helping more. Ken Simmons
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Kim’s Answer

Hollie,


One thing working in job placement has taught me is that there are a lot of people with degrees who are not working in the field of their major! There are many opportunities to move around. Some companies do not care what your major is, as long as you have a degree. Once you are out in the working world, it will be up to you to show how you have "transferrable" job skills. Those are skills that you obtained in one job that relate to a job that you are applying for. As an example, in going from a career as a police officer to my new career as a job placement counselor, I relied heavily on my "interview" skills and "customer service" skills. The police agency was at an airport - it was very customer service oriented - but I had to explain that, in my resume, as most people no longer consider police officers to be customer service focused. It will be up to you to write a resume to convey that you have the needed skillset.


Also, you can do volunteer work in the field that you want to go into, so that you will have experience in that field, even though your degree is in a different field.


You can also go back to school and pick up a "certificate" or just take a few classes in that other field.


Trust me, you really, really, really will not be "stuck" in one career forever. You can do whatever you want to do!


Kim

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