Practicality and Passion: A Balance in Finding a Major

April 9, 2019

For some students, deciding on a major can feel like choosing between your life’s true passion and the boring job that’s going to bring home the bacon. I like to think of the perfect major as a balance of both these things: something that stimulates your creative mind while simultaneously helping drive you toward your professional goals.

The Pressure to Choose

Many college students face pressure to select a degree that will supposedly lead to a good job. I certainly did—as a freshman, I had no clue what I wanted to major in, and my family encouraged me to pick something “practical.” 

There’s also a lot of pressure from the other side—students are often encouraged to take personality quiz after skill assessment after major workshop in order to discover their “perfect” major. 

It Doesn’t Have to be Perfect

The truth is, majors aren’t soulmates. For the longest time, I thought there would be a moment where everything would magically click: I would walk out of the first day of the introductory class to my major and think, “Well, this is it!” 

That wasn’t the case, and now, two semesters into declaring my major in strategic communications, I’ve never felt more secure in my decision. I don’t need to worry about selecting a degree that will “pay the bills”—after researching the career paths my major can lead to, I know that my degree and my experiences will help me secure a good job after graduation, and I have no doubt that the skills I’m learning will set me apart in the job market. 

I don’t feel the pressure to worry about whether or not my major is fulfilling my heart’s desire. My major will help me lead a fulfilling life as I continue to study and work in a field that engages my curiosity and my abilities, allowing me to live passionately in all areas of my life.

Don’t worry!

If you haven’t found a major that feels like your raison d'être, don’t worry: the cliche “aha” moment might not happen and that’s okay. It’s important to see your major or potential major as what it really is: an important subject or area of study that engages and satisfies you, that you don’t get tired of learning about, and that you can spend your days with over and over as you live the best life you can lead, both inside the classroom and outside of it.