Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Ask me Anything: What to do with my major?

Wednesday, April 27, 2022
Graphic by Emma Kratky

Todayís question: Iím not sure what to do with my major. Howíd you know what you wanted to do?

Hello, readers! Today I want to talk about something thatís probably on a lot of our minds: What comes after college. Eek.

For a long time, Iíve had the vague idea bouncing around in the back of my brain that I wanted to go into psychology. Iíve always loved to think about why things are and nothing else ever seemed interesting, honestly. The first time I ever had to put this into words was for a presentation about what career I wanted to go into when I was 15 or so. Someone asked me if the six or more years of college was worth it to me, and honestly, at the time, I didnít really think so. School seemed like one long, boring, far away, unachievable monolith.

But I could start getting my undergrad at least, and figure it out as I went. Right? So I thought a lot about and thoroughly researched my options. I considered being a traditional counselor, then a school psychologist, then a media psychologist, and finally landed on some kind of a family or marriage counselor. Will that be my final answer? Who knows.

Outside of school, Iíve always loved doing little creative projects. Iíve played piano since I was young. I painted for hours most days during quarantine, and my left leg is covered with stick and poke tattoos. I write bad poetry, and I create Youtube videos I never intend for anyone to watch.

Last year, I decided to double major in mass media journalism, because I find the intersection of media and psychology really interesting. I was really on the fence about it for a long time, but I have to admit: Iím hooked. Newswriting has been a really fun challenge, and getting better at Photoshop and Adobe software is quite satisfying. Once I stopped looking at art and creative expression as a binary, either youíre good at it or youíre not kind of thing, I became free to explore something Iíd never even considered as an option.

So thatís my first thought about figuring out what you want to do. Donít rule anything out, and leave no stone unturned when searching for what you like and enjoy. Relentlessly pursue what you find interesting. Watch Youtube videos. Join a club. Intentionally seek out other peoplesí experiences and stories, and pick out what you do and donít like.

Something to keep in mind: There are a *lot* of resources available to you as a student. Use them! Professors are a great place to start: they know a lot about what they teach, and are in this field because they want to help students succeed. They are a great source of lived experience, and can help connect you to other resources and career options like job shadowing or internships to see if a certain job would be a good fit for you.

I think itís also a great goal to try to take every career-related opportunity you can. Do research, attend outside of school events, and honestly, just do whatever you can get your hands on. If you arenít sure about your career path, a well-rounded resume helps with just about everything.

Thereís also a lot, like a lot a lot, of resources online. Https://whatcanidowiththismajor.com/major/ is a great one, for example. There are many tools like this available, and they can be extremely useful for your exploration.

Now that Iím about a year and a half away from getting my bachelorís degree, grad school seems moreÖ well, doable. Interesting. Exciting, even. I still donít really know exactly what I want to do, but thatís ok. Iím working hard to pursue whatís interesting to me, and for me, thatís enough for now.

And while itís important to have long term goals for yourself, I think taking life one day at a time is just as important. Enjoying what youíre doing right now is so very important, and looking at the type of things you like to do on a small scale can even be helpful in finding what your interests are more broadly.

Overall, the process of exploring what I want (and like) to do has been hard, frustrating, and time consuming, but also an immensely interesting and joyful experience. I remember one night, I was sitting in the UC finishing a column, and I was feeling immensely frustrated, stuck, and uninspired. I have a lot of moments like that, where I would rather drop out than deal with my, at the time, seemingly insurmountable problems.

But I can honestly say that the experience of becoming a better writer and thinker had made all of that worth it, and then some. I find what Iím doing intrinsically satisfying and rewarding, and that makes going through school doable. I hope that you can find something that is as good for you as my college experience has been for me, and if you feel like you canít, keep looking. I promise thereís something out there, it just might take a little searching.

Good luck out there, readers. Be kind to each other, and be kind to yourselves. College, and thinking about what comes after, is a really hard subject to tackle, but you got this. :)

Do you have a burning question? Submit it here.

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