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How often did you change your major and at what point did you recognize the direction you wanted to go

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I am undecided as to a major which puts a lot of pressure on me to make a choice. I don't like change so making a choice will most likely define my path which is frightening. I have watched my dad work in a profession that he felt trapped in and I don't want that to be my future. #career #career-counseling #internships #career-path #choosing-a-major #undecided

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Christy’s Answer

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Please don't put that kind of pressure on yourself. I ended up studying Communication at Purdue University and loved it. I had no idea what I would really do but I loved the advertising classes and organizational communication. I also took several art history classes that I adored. I minored in English and was one class short of a minor in psychology too. I worked at the school newspaper in sales and then got a summer internship at a PR firm in NYC my junior summer. I felt like I was focused on honing the skills I knew I was good at. And it allowed me to succeed in every job I've ever had. I've loved my careers - worked for MCI in training, sales and marketing, operations and management. Then moved into education and got a masters degree. Did that for 10 years and now I'm with a consulting company helping people with professional development. I have fallen into every career change I've made and have loved them all. If you really don't know what you want to do then stay with liberal arts and take a range of classes that might spark an interest or passion. The more passionate you are about something the more you'll enjoy your work!
Wishing you all the best. Everything will work out. Christy

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Wolf’s Answer

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I changed my major 2 times in undergrad. I started in a watchmaking and micro technology program, and almost completed the whole two year program before getting offered a job as a watchmaker. I left school with one quarter left unfinished. This was a mistake,
When I got back to school, 13 years later, the watchmaking program no longer existed, so I went into a transfer program focused on music and social sciences that prepared me to enter the University as an upper-classman (junior). I took all of the lower-level courses at my community college, rather than taking them at uni where the lower level course sizes were huge. When I did get to the university, I had to choose major, because I was at that point at Junior, so I chose anthropology because it seemed like a lot of fun, and the anthropology department was where archaeology lived. I wanted to do archaeology because I had done some archaeology field school in the community college. At the end of my junior year, I wanted to change to a divinity/ theology major. My advisor talked me out of that, for which I am grateful. The change would've made me have to take four more years of college, and I was already a little tired of college.
In my senior year, I was looking for jobs in archaeology and discovering that I had to have a terminal degree, which in the archaeology biz is a doctorate. Yes I started applying to schools for a PhD in archaeology/forensic osteology. These looked like a very interesting programs however there were only three or four schools that had instructors focused on the topics in which I was interested.

Two of those schools were in California and one was in Tennessee. The waiting list for the school in Tennessee, which was my first choice, was huge. thus I moved to San Francisco, California to develop residency so I could go to a California school and not pay out-of-state fees.
When I got there, I discovered that the professor I was interested in at Berkeley had moved to a different department, and was focused in a different area, not to mention the anthropology department had blown up and half of them had migrated to the statistics department and the other half had migrated to the sociology department. I was not particularly interested in a PhD in statistics nor in sociology. The other professor in whoes work I was interested was at Stanford. That professor had gone on a five year sabbatical in the same month that I arrived in California. So, after some thought I moved back east and decided to enter a business and technology program, and get a Masters in IT management. The IT degree got me instant credibility of a sort and I have stayed in that general area for 16 years.
When I got the IT management degree, what I had really wanted was an IT security degree so as soon as I could, I got into jobs where is security was A major part of the requirement. I am a multipotentiallite, which means I hold and act on lots of interests at the same time. This is not an unusual personality type however it is not a type that is tremendously appreciated in the traditional job market so far as I have seen. I am sure, that if my parents had been paying for my education they would have lost their minds as I went from thing to thing in my interests.
It security and compliance is something I have remained interested in, and is probably the field that I'm going to retire from. The point of all this is that the major you complete may have very little obvious connection to the career you finally retire from. If you were asking for advice, I would say plan from a point of view 10 or 15 years asked school. Pretend that you have already graduated somehow and that's not him, and you are 10 years out of school in mid-career doing [whatever].

Still in your thought experiment, what degree program would you have to have completed 10 years ago to be where you are now. What major would you have to have taken to make this such an easy career path, or such a fun career path. Now go see what majors are available that are close to what you just figure it out. Then you have 2 to 4 more years, depending on where you are in your program right now, to finish up on college and get paired for your future. What I would not suggest doing, is essentially what I did. Having well over 10 years to consider how I got here, I would have liked to have somebody suggest what I just suggested to you. It would have made things a little quicker. I might have saved some of the time changing majors added to my undergrad. Like high school, which seems so all encompassing when you're in it, undergrad college is a short.-term thing that, in the long run, probably won't have as much of an effect on you as you think it will, when you are immersed in it.

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