Opinion | Pursuing relevant passions and interests can lead to a successful major and employment
Published: Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, September 17, 2013 01:09
As I stood in line at orientation talking to other future Miami grads, waiting to receive the much-anticipated activity schedule, it became very clear that many students were confident in their chosen majors and concentrations. I quickly entered the line for the table with the cheery poster board sign: Undecided? Declare Your Major!
Moments later, I was a zoology major and felt somewhat sure of myself, as though suddenly my listless collegiate wanderings had definition. To me, this seems so…wrong.
College first-years don’t know who they are, much less what they want to become. Also, 24 percent of high school seniors aren’t even sure if attending college is in their future, according to a survey from Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Can we really expect these indecisive students to know their exact futures, five or six years down the road, upon first entering the hallowed halls of their chosen university?
While Miami is certainly a university with a vast course catalogue and list of over 100 majors, the structured regiments for areas of study may prevent some students from truly exploring their interests.
Though the Global Miami Plan appears, at first glance, to offer a variety of classes in subject areas across the board, many students interpret the course requirements to parallel with their high school experience.
Mary Beth Collier, dean of academic advising at the State University of New York stresses, “You’ve taken the same six subjects since kindergarten. If you don’t know your major, don’t come here and take the same subjects expecting to figure it out.”
I don’t mean to imply that Miami doesn’t allow students to explore their interests.
In fact, Miami is like most universities in that students have the option to declare their major upon enrollment, but the majority remains undecided initially. And the Global Miami Plan allows more flexibility than most believe.
I only wish that universities across the country would direct more energy towards pushing students to excel in their passionately-chosen major, rather than a generically job-guaranteed, safe major.
Especially in this economy and job market, no major is safe. Some students believe that graduating with a double major guarantees them an edge within the workforce.
Miami’s education department reports the number of students receiving double bachelor’s degrees rose 70 percent between 2001 and 2011. But are these students really ahead of the curve, based solely on achieving multiple diplomas?
Currently, US News reports careers within healthcare, software and computer systems to be the most desirable within the workforce.
However, today’s top jobs with their seemingly strong security may not even be in existence 10 years from now, especially with the constantly evolving job market and working world.
The bottom line is this: Don’t allow your major or initial lack thereof to define you. Do what you know and do what you love. If you’re not sure what that is, explore.
If you have the slightest inkling towards pursuing a given subject, try to cover your bases by taking the necessary courses needed for said major.
Just be sure you’re happy with what you do. Here I sit, now a double major in English literature and marketing, combining a field I love with a field I can excel in, and though the future does indeed look somewhat frightening, I can honestly say I am confident and excited for graduation day.
When in doubt, turn your major into something that works for you. According to the University of Kent, employers report that they are ultimately looking for graduates with a transferable skill set to the workforce, for example, the ability to work in teams, communicate through writing, manage time and work as a self-starter.
Apply these learned skills to what you love and you’re certain to succeed.