Skip to Content

Choosing a Major: Fueling Your Life Passions (and Not Your Parents’)

When you love PR but your parents are saying "med school or bust, " it feels like you're caught in the middle. Here are a few tactics to help your parents see the passions the fuel you -- and just where those passions will take you in college.

When it comes to college indulgence, choosing a major can be amongst one of the more challenging experiences.

So far college is fun though, right? You’ve either just moved onto campus and are discovering the qualities of your new roommate, or you’re a commuter student looking to make friends via campus clubs. Sure, residential and campus life are ragingly stimulating, what with the college parties, fraternity rushes, and athletic teams.

Yet, the most important aspect of your college years plagues your mind: what am I going to major in?

Determining your personal concentrated area of study can be daunting. Glancing through your school’s academic catalogue, it appears there are so many options to choose from! Do you want to comb the tracks of a skillful detective in criminology? Do you have a knack for studying stock patterns, such as in economics? Or, perhaps foreign cultures entertain you, so you’re considering immersing yourself under the umbrella of international languages.

Well, here’s where you begin: it’s important to consider every academic major. I know, I know, your parents are pushing you to follow their footsteps in biology, with a concentration in anatomy, so you can become a doctor someday, just like them. Whether that path appears interesting, or you feel swayed because your parents are footing your tuition bills each semester, please stop for a moment and consider your options.

College is about finding yourself. These are the four consecutive years of your life where you are allowed, even encouraged, to make mistakes before transitioning into adulthood. Does ceramics sound like a fun art course? Have at it! Have you been itching to learn how to play the piano? Put your fingers to the keys in a performance piano pedagogy class!

My point is this: you’re only going to (hopefully) attend college once. College is the brief chapter in your life where you are allowed to play around with your options. No, not every major may seem practical in the midst of building your résumé for a technical job. However, many of these courses will help you explore your passions, ultimately leading you to your dream major.

Studies demonstrate that students who don’t love their selected major will end up disliking college and ultimately hating their future job. What’s the point in majoring in political science if you aren’t politically affiliated in any way, shape, or form? You’re absolutely right: nada. There’s no reason to select a major that your parents see fit for you if you cannot imagine yourself in said field.

It’s also important to remember that your major doesn’t define you. According to New York Times journalist Jeffrey J. Selingo, your major may not matter as much as you think. His article, “The Choice” discusses how most successful college graduates are those with interpersonal skills and critical thinking abilities.

If you find yourself in a major crisis, don’t fret. You have four years to find your passions. Enroll in eccentric courses that stimulate your mind. Be an unconventional scholar, because chances are college is going to be far more memorable this way. As for your parents? Encourage them to trust your judgment a bit more. This is your college experience. If they want to support you, kindly remind them you need to discover a major you’re attracted to, all on your own!

GenTwenty's Guide to College Success

Follow GENTWENTY | Career, Life and Finance Tips for Twenty-Somethings’s board COLLEGE TIPS on Pinterest.

About the Author

Rachael Warren (Tulipano)

Rachael is a University of Southern Maine graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and a minor in Sociology. She remotely works full-time as a Senior Content Marketing Specialist for Champlain College in Burlington, Vermont. In her leisure time, Rachael enjoys traveling with her husband, finding the next Netflix series to binge, and taking too many photos of her dogs Jax and Kai. Rachael is obsessed with chapstick, favors the Oxford comma, and is a proud Mainer. You'll likely find her exploring New England + beyond.