Students discuss choosing a major

by Online Editor Emily Kazungu

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

That is a question every person gets asked while growing up and a question many college students find difficult to answer.

UNA offers a class each spring and fall semester for students still trying to make the decision. IDS 200, Career Exploration and Planning, is offered to freshman and sophomore level students, according to the Career Planning and Development website.

The course is designed to help students learn more about their interests, skills, abilities and future career opportunities.

Director of Career Planning and Development Melissa Medlin said students have different reasons why they pick the majors they want to pursue in college.

“There are some who literally just flip open a book and say, ‘OK, I’ll pick this,’ with no thought whatsoever,” Medlin said.

“There are students who choose majors based on family lineage. Maybe they’re going to take over a family business or maybe the family was in medicine and they choose medicine.”

Medlin said her father was a doctor, but she went with what she really wanted to do. She studied broadcast journalism in college and became a career counselor. She said she is applying most of what she learned in college in her current position.

“People do want to know what ‘popular’ or ‘hot’ majors are, or those where they might have the best income,” she said. “Those things are important to consider, but at the same time a very important consideration is what are your own personal interests, strengths and abilities?”

Medlin emphasized asking questions and doing research when picking a major.

She said students should look at the commercialized side of their majors and dig deep to find what the majors they are interested in are like.

“I firmly believe anyone can do anything with any major if they put the work into it,” she said.

Senior social work major Brittany Harris said she started with nursing but realized she did not have a passion for it.

“(My family) really discouraged me from doing (social work),” she said.

Harris said the negative social work stereotypes, like taking children away from their families, led her family to discourage her from pursuing her major.

“With social work, it’s not as much money. Our motto is, ‘We are in it for the outcome, not the income,’” she said. “I just have a heart for ministry and serving others. That’s just where my passion is.”

Harris is paying her own way through college. She said it would be hard to go against a parent’s wish for their children to do a certain major.

“If your parents are paying for your school, it’s kind of hard to disobey them or go against their wishes,” she said. “But at the same time you are going to be stuck doing (whatever you picked) for the rest of your life. You want to do something that you’re going to enjoy and you’re going to be passionate about.”

Choosing a major based on personality and interests may be beneficial in the long run, according to careerkey.org.

Junior Eli Aday said he went to college to pursue a degree in education. He changed his mind and he is now studying business marketing.

“I went into college as an education major because I wanted to be a teacher,” he said. “I just started looking at my options and at my strengths and weaknesses, and I think (business marketing) is something I would enjoy, and it would better suit me.”

Aday said time is money and students should avoid wasting it.

“At the end of the day, it’s your life and (whatever major you choose) is what you are going to do for the rest of your life,” he said. “You should never waste time trying to please other people.”

Junior Sarah Vaughn, who changed her major to nutrition therapy, said she is happy to study a major she has a passion for.

“At first I wanted to do nursing,” she said. “I changed my mind because I am more interested in what goes into the body.”

Freshman Katelyn Walton said she wanted to be involved with art since she was little.

“My family was supportive of me wanting to do something that I loved,” she said. “But they were not supportive as far as money goes because they know art does not bring money.”

Students who still need help choosing a major or making a career plan are encouraged to visit the Career Planning and Development office.