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How will I know I'm picking the right major?

I've been going back and forth with many different ideas in my head about different manjors. Nursing, occupational therapy, physical therapy, dermatology, interior design, media, nutritional work, child protections, international studies. I have so many ideas, how will I know I'm picking the best one for me?

#university #physicaltherapy #majors #ideas #scholarahip #media

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Subject: Career question for you

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Christine’s Answer

Talk to your advisor, take general courses to get any prerequisites you may need for graduate programs, and explore your options! I recommend volunteering in different settings, shadowing professionals, joining clubs/groups related to your interests to get others' perspectives.

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Stefania’s Answer

Choosing the right major is a tall task. I recently worked with a client who switched majors half-way through her university experience. While you can't "know" for sure, there are things you can do to help you decide if you are in the right environment. Try and reflect on what it is about the courses (exiting and upcoming) you are enjoying or what aspects of the courses and major appeal to you. Take a look at the type of careers you might be able to pursue with your major and get a pulse on the types of opportunities that appeal to you. If, for instance, nothing that pops up is of interest to you, you may want to take a look at other majors and read up on other courses that appeal to you and see what type of majors there are that might offer an alternative options for you. I highly recommend visiting the career center at your university, if they have a resource on site.

Stefania recommends the following next steps:

Visit campus career center.
Reflect on what aspects of the courses you are enjoying and what potential career opportunities within this major appeal to you.
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Donna’s Answer

Based on the choices you listed, you seem to want to be in the helping professions, or perhaps the medical field. There are jobs in all of them, if you have the right training. So, where do you see yourself, ideally? For example, when I was growing up, I wanted to be in media. My parents thought I might have a difficult time breaking in, so they recommended that I choose a major in something where I knew I could make a living, and then I could minor in a field related to media. That way, it's a win-win: I was able to pursue what I loved (media) while making sure I had a skill-set that would support me while I sought media jobs. I chose to major in teaching English, and I was able to get a good job doing that, which enabled me to work part-time in broadcasting.


So, if you know what you'd really like to do for a living, you can choose that as your major, while minoring in something you also like, but aren't sure you could make a living at. Another thing to consider: when I was in college, majors and minors were much more rigid. If you made your choice, that was where you had to stay. Today, many colleges are more flexible, and it is possible to make a change. So, if after your freshman year, you find yourself questioning whether you made the right choice, talk to your advisor about changing your major. Agreed, it's never a good idea to change programs frequently; but if you do it just once, and with the guidance of your advisor, you won't lose that much time and will still be able to graduate with your class.

Donna recommends the following next steps:

Investigate the majors you are thinking about-- and I am not just referring to reading about them (although that can be useful, since you will know the right questions to ask). I'm suggesting that you talk to some people who are working in those fields, or observe people who do those jobs. That may help you to see if in fact you could envision yourself doing the work these people do.
Talk about it with people you respect-- parents and/or relatives, teachers at your current school, your guidance counselor, anyone you can brainstorm with. Explore the pluses and minuses of each possible major, and see what these people say. In the end, you will make the decision, but having some other perspectives to consider can be useful.
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G. Mark’s Answer

I'm going to repeat the common refrain I've always spouted because I think it's practical, efficient, and likely to help you into a field you'll enjoy and do well in. Take a Personality Assessment Survey test. These tests, like RIASEC and others, are series of questions whose answers are matched with professionals in various fields who are successful and happy in what they do. This sort of test doesn't test your ability so much as your potential for success by assuming that if you match others' responses who are happy and successful, you're likely to be as well.

Now the other approach to answering this sort of question revolves around, "Well, what do you like to do?" and "Here are the fields that are hiring the most in the coming future." I think the RIASEC approach sort of skips that step in favor of overall results. It's entirely possible that you really, really enjoy doing "X" but would hate doing "X" for a living. It's also possible that you could be very good at "Y", but folks who have those jobs don't like them for some reason other than the performing of the job itself. Maybe there's no future in that job. Or maybe the conditions are not enjoyable. Or maybe the instability of employment is too stressful. So there's more to a job than any one simple factor or even set of factors. But being happy and successful seem to be pretty reliably important. And statistically, the Personality Assessment Surveys seem to work.

So check with counselors, employment agencies, college advisors or even search the net and get access to one of these tests. The worst that can happen is that it gives you some suggestions that you don't want to take. Like my test telling me one of the things I'd be good at would be Park Ranger. Luckily, there were a lot of other suggestions that matched exactly what I ended up doing and loving a lot.

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