Choosing a College Major

Lesson #1: Trial and Error

Choosing a major in university was a stressful, difficult and long process. Before I settled on one major (I'll get to it later), I considered basically every major faculty.
First, I wanted to be an engineer. My big bro is an engineer, and I thought it'd be pretty cool to follow in his footsteps. But honestly, I was very naive and didn't know much, if anything, about the industry. Thankfully, I one summer I had the chance to learn what engineering entailed. I had a summer internship (during high school) at an engineering firm. I saw first-hand what the engineers did, and I didn't like it. Although my internship was tedious and low-paying, I learned quite a bit about what I wanted in life, and what I didn't want. That's lesson #1 in choosing a major: Trial and Error. You've got to try things out and see if you're cut out for them. You cannot accurately decide on your future without getting an experience, however brief.

Lesson #2: Get Specific and Research Your Options

My second choice was to be an environmentalist. I really liked the environment (as everyone should!), so I thought, "Hey, I'll do something with the environment". Again, I was naive. There are a plethora of environmental careers, and I didn't narrow it down at all. That's lesson #2 in choosing a major: get as specific as you can.

Lesson #3: Your Major Alone Does Not Determine Your Future

I soon found out that I hated the subjected of biology, so that eliminated many environmental careers. What's left was mostly environmental activism. That still appeals to me, but I realized that I don't want to center my career around it. This brings us to lesson #3: your major doesn't predict your future. Heck, I could get a major in philosophy but be a savvy stock trader in the evenings. Similarly, I can still care for the environment and be an activist, while having a totally unrelated career. And that's the plan, tentatively.

Lesson #3: Pick a major that you are good at AND excites you.

After turning away from an environment major, I fell back on a chemistry or physics degree. As stated, I realized that I was repulsed by biology, so I thought to myself, "what do I like then?" Chemistry and physics came to mind. So with no other options, I resorted to chemistry or physics as a college major. But in truth, I wasn't fascinated by these subjects. They didn't light my fire, or capture my enthusiasm. I think that the big reason why I enjoy physics and chemistry is because I am talented at them. But talent alone will not sustain you over the course of your career. I needed something that excited me. However, nothing came to mind. I was stuck.

Lesson #4: Be open and interested.

At this point, I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life. I merely drifted and followed my curiosity. Eventually I discovered something new and novel: Economics. I fell in love with the subject. Not only was I good at it, but it excites me. Looking back, I am thankful that I encountered the subject of economics. I know that if I hadn't stayed curious and interested in everything, I wouldn't have found it. I could have merely sulked and bemoaned that fact that I had no clue what to do with my life. But I didn't. I stayed curious, and it made all the difference.

Lesson #5: Go All Out

Now that I've found a major that I like, I'm investing all the time I can into learning more. After finding your passion, don't neglect it. You need to nurture it by learning, sharing and growing in that subject area. And remember, just because you're at stage 5, you need to recall the other lessons. If you find that you're interest in your major declines, try to apply lesson 4 and be open and interested. Who knows, maybe you will need to switch (it's trial and error, remember?). You've got to be flexible. After all, you're major does not determine your future (#3)