Shopping for a Major - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)
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August 2, 2022

Shopping for a Major

Choosing the right major can be an insanely difficult and frustrating task. A person could be enthralled to start their journey through one major freshman year and enter sophomore year dying for a change. Statistics show that 80% of students end up changing their major at least once throughout their college career. Although I wish I could be part of the 20% of students who could live happily ever after in the major they had chosen, unfortunately, I found myself “major shopping” by the end of sophomore year. The decision to drop my major was difficult and grueling, so much so that I probably could have walked off Geneva’s campus with a degree in over thinking, top of my class. One of my biggest concerns surrounded the fact that I really didn’t feel like I fit in anywhere. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life and therefore felt unqualified to choose a major for myself. After many hours in frustration, confusion, and prayer, I headed to the registrar’s office to change my major. I left that office and never looked back.

The question is, how do you come to that point of decision? How does one choose a major when you really aren’t too sure what line of work you want to venture into? Firstly, it is completely normal to contemplate the option of changing your major, especially if you feel unfulfilled in your current area of study. Secondly, know that the major you choose doesn’t necessarily leave you with one field of employment. One major can prepare you well for a vast array of jobs post-graduation. However, it is important to choose something that you find interesting, that you are drawn to, and that will provide you a good knowledge base for job positioning in the future.

So, let’s say you are entering college incredibly soon but aren’t sure where you really want to go. Some brave souls decide to storm ahead through undiscovered territory, declare a major and see where it takes them. If this seems scary to you, maybe a good place to start is undeclared. There is absolutely no rush to dive into a major when you are not completely sold on it yet. Of course, you must come to that point of decision somewhere along the line, but remaining undeclared your first year is not as detrimental as you may think. Many students have found that remaining undeclared their freshman year helped them gain better insight about themselves, allowing time for them to participate in the various core classes that Geneva provides while also dabbling in different fields of interest.

Freshman year is a great time to explore different areas of study. It is incredibly helpful if you narrow down the search by choosing 2-3 different majors that interest you and that you would like to explore in depth. While you are taking some core classes, it could prove to be beneficial for you to dive into some other classes that spark an underlying passion. Whether Business 110, Social Services 212, or Psychology 201, gaining a general idea of a major could help you find your niche. By searching a few key majors out, you may find that major that you’ve been looking for, that field of study that gets you excited. If one particular class doesn’t interest you, there are many more possibilities. Don’t get discouraged, keep searching.

If you are still having a difficult time deciding on a major, talking to a family member could prove to be helpful. When I decided to change my major, I didn’t sit in my room alone talking to myself like a raging lunatic. At least, not all the time. I was able to talk about my situation with my family, friends, and even my mentor at Geneva. Having people who cared and knew me well helped me navigate the unfamiliar waters of choosing a fitting major. Sometimes talking to someone helps sort through thoughts and ideas that you may not have been able to figure out on your own. Don’t gruel over a decision, share with a person who could serve as a listening ear, and in return, listen for advice that may help you out in your pursuit for a major.

Out of all the worrying, thinking, talking, and grueling discussions we have while deciding a major, there seems to be one thing that we leave as last resort, in case all else fails. That is prayer. Prayer is sadly overlooked most of the time. Instead of starting with the greatly needed direction of God, we try to figure things out on our own first. Before diving into anything else, get down on your knees and ask or guidance. Start out praying, diligently seek God in prayer, explore different majors and pray about them. When there are weighty decisions in life, instead of pretending we can make it on our own, bowing our heads to ask for help is the best thing we can do. Sometimes God will speak through passions, other times it may come from a random pamphlet that you find lying around, direction could even come from a friend that may give you some words of wisdom that provide a level of clarity. Prayer is a tool that is poorly utilized and unfortunately overlooked in most cases, but nonetheless, it is the best possible solution in times of uncertainty.

While I wish I could give you a magic formula that could show you exactly what field of study you would succeed in and enjoy most, it just isn’t that simple. Freshman year there are many new experiences and decisions that need to be made. It is normal to find these decisions weighty and difficult to make, especially when you’re choosing a major that could impact your choice of career in the upcoming future. So, explore other majors, talk to some friends and family members, listen to what they have to say, pray for guidance and honestly, give it some time. While you search for that right major, utilize the option to remain undeclared for a while. Get to know yourself better, notice your strengths and weaknesses, your likes and dislikes and in time, you will be able to put away that heavy shopping cart and walk away with a brand-new major.

-Abby Forton ‘22