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How much pressure should I put on choosing what I want to study at University? I am currently very drawn toward Psychology and English and I don't know which to focus more on.

I am a junior in high school.
I would prefer not to go into education.
I don't know whether to focus on English or Psychology and I'm worried that if I choose to focus on the wrong one, it will all go downhill.

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Anne’s Answer

It really depends on what you plan on doing with each of them. Generally speaking, psychology is one of the most popular degrees obtained in undergraduate level. In VA where I am, it's the number one earned degree in our state. There is not much you can do with just a bachelors of psychology that is related to the field. In order to practice or teach the subject you would most likely need at least a masters at least. If you would like to do something clinical like therapy or research or teaching at a university, a master's degree will be your way to go. That being said, I have lots of friends with psychology bachelors who work for universities in their special education departments, HR, work in admin roles, etc. For English, you would also need to think about what you want to do with it. I was studying to be an english teacher before I switched to setting my goals on therapy. If you want to use your English degree, whether that's teaching, writing, working at a publication, etc. You would be more likely to use just your bachelor's degree (depending on if you specialize in stuff.) Also keep in mind there might be a lot of crossover between the general ed credits because they're both under the humanities, depending on your college you could easily double major or major one and minor another! I would see if you can take a psych class while you're still in high school or your first year in college and see if this is something you want to focus on for your career!

Anne recommends the following next steps:

See if you can take a psych class in HS or your first year in college
Do research as to what kinds of jobs you are interested in, what kind of education level is needed?
Thank you comment icon Hi, thank you so much! I am currently taking a psych class and I will do more research into jobs I might be interested in. :) Izabela
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David’s Answer

Hello, Izabela,

Your first two years of college are going to open innumerable windows of opportunity for you. Unlike high school, you will be experiencing a freedom to explore new avenues. In talking with other students and with instructors (DO make a point to seek out your professors for personal talk, one of the jewels of college that most students overlook. Professors enjoy such involvement, and their advice is priceless.) Three years from now, as you finish your sophomore year in college, you will look back on this question as being premature, and even irrelevant, to where you are academically by then. You will also be aware of many career options that you had never considered. Finally, your life will not go downhill. The beauty of education is that you will always have skills that are transferable to other careers. All the best to you.
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Leonard’s Answer

Google and see if you can find someone (or multiple people) who work in the field that interests you. This is if you do not have a relative who may know someone. Maybe try with your primary care physician and see if they have a reference to someone in that field. A simple email or handwritten/typed letter to them requesting a short interview (15 minutes, sometimes they may give you more) about their career may work wonders. Introduce yourself. Tell them who you are including your age and school year. Also mentioned you want to know if they would share their experiences in that field.
Thank you comment icon Thank you! This is a really good idea that I would not have though of! Izabela
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Michael’s Answer

Hi Izabela! I think it really depends on what job you think you want to do. One option if possible is to do a double major or do a major in one area and a minor in the other one. You can research what type of jobs you can get with a Psychology degree and what type of job you can get with an English degree and basically based it off what you think you would be more interested in doing. Reading job descriptions sometimes help you determine which job you think you would enjoy the most over another one.

Also - while I think it is important to choose a career, it likely won't go downhill if you choose the "wrong one". Plenty of people have a major in something completely different than that they work on so a lot of the skills you will learn them on the job. If you are thinking of clinical psychology then know that you can't do that after getting a major in psychology but you will have to study for more years to actually do that type of work. Research is key here. Talk to people that you know that are in the fields you are interested in to learn what they do, what they love, what they hate, what did they major in, etc. The more you know, the better informed decision you will make. Good luck!
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much! This is incredibly helpful! Izabela
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Jordie’s Answer

In addition to all of these great answers, remember that even if you declare one major, that doesn't mean you have to stick with it. Many students change their major throughout their college career. Take a few courses in each subject, see what kinds of specializations are offered (if any), research jobs, and focus on getting an internship or two in the area you think you want to be in. Employers are also looking for experience (regardless of your degree) so I also recommend getting some internships, research, or possibly a part time job. Your courses come first though!
Thank you comment icon Thank you, this is amazing! I really needed it. Izabela
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