Discovering Yourself Beyond Your College Major

I remember my senior year of high school like it was yesterday. When people asked me where I was going to college, I proudly answered, “Penn State!” with excitement and enthusiasm. More often than not, the person asking knew something about Penn State which we could discuss. When asked what I would study, I explained I was accepted into the College of Communications and would be studying Public Relations. More often than not, the person asking knew little to nothing about what that meant. At the time, I thought I knew everything I needed to know about my major. Looking back on it, I knew next to nothing at all.

I didn’t know what my “dream job” was or where I saw myself in 4 years. Hell, I could barely picture myself in college 3 hours away from home. I didn’t know what people with degrees in Public Relations did, or what my options even were in terms of a career. I knew what I was good at it, and picked a major based off of that.

It’s funny because during four years of college, almost everyone I met along the way asked the same question: “What’s your major?”

I was guilty of asking this question too, of course. It’s a good way to get a quick snapshot of someone. You can get a general idea of the type of the person they are, and what they’re interested in. However, I quickly learned that being in the College of Communications was frowned upon much more than I had realized.

Communications majors are the butt of a lot of jokes. We’re constantly told how “lucky” we are for having such an “easy” major. Even worse, we’re reminded how difficult it is to get a job after graduation – especially one that pays well. The more of these13226695_1188993867779937_729632822572986913_n things I heard, the more scared I became. Should I have picked a different major? Would I get a job? If I did, would I even like my career in communications?

While I didn’t know it at the time, everything would end up working out for me down the road. Like anything in this world, your work ethic determines your future, not your college major. I ended up accepting a full-time position at a digital agency just one month after graduating. Sure, my major mattered to an extent, but my experiences mattered more. I realized that if you’re passionate about something, you’re inevitably going to be more driven in terms of shaping a future around it, which is exactly what I did. I knew what I was interested in and I went after it.

I always look at it this way – you could come into college as an Accounting major and spend hours studying material that you have no interest in, simply because you know that accountants make a lot of money post-graduation. You could tell people you’re an accounting major and listen to them “ooh” and “ahh” and tell you how smart you must be. You could get a great job that pays a lot of money, but still never really be happy because accounting isn’t what you’re passionate about. Is any of that really worth it in the end? Money is a motivator to some extent, but what happens when it’s not enough anymore?

Our careers are such prominent parts in our lives. Americans will spend approximately 90,000+ hours working in their lifetime, which is absolutely insane when you think about it. Do you really want to spend 90,000+ hours working a job you don’t absolutely love? Because I sure as hell don’t.

Your career path should never be shaped by taking “the easy way out.” If you pick an “easy” major in college and expect to fall into a job, you’re sadly mistaken. Also, it’s important to remember that there is no such thing as an “easy” major – college is hard. Everyone has different interests and abilities, so “easy” to one person may be “difficult” to another.

Your career path should never be solely dependent on the amount of money you can make. Yes, being well off is a goal for almost everyone, but the happiness that people associate with having a lot of money is not the solution to all of life’s problems.

Ultimately, your career path should be a reflection of your accomplishments and interests. You may not know exactly where that will lead you right now, and that’s okay. If you continue to try out things that you’re even slightly interested in, you’re bound to end up on the path to doing something you love in the years to come.

Discover yourself beyond the not-so-restricting constraints of your college major, and you’ll discover your career along the way.

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