Many students will start in a specialized program and realize it is not for them. It shouldn’t be a hard thing to change your major considering almost everyone does it, but now it might require you to completely transfer schools. I’m going through it right now and it’s not easy or cheap.
Luckily I’m keeping pretty close to my original major so classes will transfer, but for students who want to completely change it is probably out of the question unless they can afford to basically start over college.
So how do we beat the system? If colleges aren’t going to change, it looks like we’re going to have to get smarter. The rule we should all start following is that we absolutely need to be sure about our major before we start college or at the latest 1 year in. This sounds really intimidating to have our entire lives planned out by the time we are 18, but if we stop relying on just our high school classes to tell us what we are supposed to be majoring in it is possible.
There are other things that we can go out and do that will help us figure out what we really are passionate about. I won’t bore you with the hundreds of ideas I have for what we can do, but how about just the top 3…
1. Don’t keep the same summer job every year.
Most students will start working the summer after their sophomore year of high school which gives us 3 summers to try out different jobs before college. You may not want to give up the job security of staying at one place, but you could be saving so much money down the road. You might also not think that switching between retail stores or summer camps will help, but you might only need one small experience to help you realize your passion and the more different places you put yourself in, the better chance you will find that.
2. Travel, travel, travel.
Trust me I know how expensive it is, but if you get the chance do it. Traveling gives you experiences you could never have at home and you never know when you might come across some inspiration.
3. Take advantage of the opportunities companies offer for students. This is the last one I want to mention and then one I can really speak to considering I just did it. I knew I wanted to major in something creative and artsy, but wasn’t sure exactly what. My mom saw that Pixar was offering a class in New York City and thought that might help me figure out if Animation is what I want to do. So I signed up, spent 2 days being taught by Animators, and will now be going to school for that.
Not every situation will go as perfectly as that I’m sure, but other companies offer things like this that students like us can really benefit from and can help us figure things out.
Other companies offer classes like the one I took from Pixar or offer internship programs or camps.
Disney is known for programs like this as well as a bunch of colleges like Carnegie Mellon that offer summer programs. Explore what it is out there and take advantage of anything you can to help make your decisions easier.
Nobody is going to help us be prepared and get a job but ourselves so we have to take control of our own futures. Just remember that while we might be making really serious decisions and working more than we like, it will always be fun if you love what you’re doing.