If this is your senior year of high school, you are gearing up for a year of “lasts”-last homecoming, last prom, last year of high school. However, it is also a year of a lot of planning; researching and soul searching for college bound seniors. Choosing a major should be at the top of your to do list. The following tips are based upon my experience of choosing a major, almost ten years ago.
Make a List
The first thing you should do when choosing a major is to think about your values. What is most important to you? Would you like a career that allows you to be creative? Does the idea of fancy business dinners make you salivate? Also, think about your family. Many women choose majors that lead them down high paying, high demand career paths, only to find that three of four years into their career, they want to have a family and be able to spend time with their children.
Expand Your Horizons
Growing up in a small town, about 3,000 people, I was not exposed to a large number of career fields. Almost everyone was a teacher, police officer, or farmer so I was not exposed to a large number of professions. Be sure that you are aware of the possibilities. People make a living doing so many neat things. Do your research to find a career that matches your abilities and interests.
Take Interest Inventories
While an interest inventory will not give you the perfect career choice, it can give you a place to start. Take as many as you can find and see if there is a recurring theme. I recommend Now! Discover Your Strengths by Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton, PhD.
Once you have identified some career choices that you might be interested in, find people in that profession and have a candid discussion about what working in that field is really like. For example, I thought that working at a newspaper would be as glamorous based upon what I saw on television. What I soon discovered was that it was high stress and long hours. I also discovered how important spending the holidays with my family was. In most markets, the biggest paper of the year is the one that runs the day after Thanksgiving which means that newspapers highly discourage, and sometimes do not allow their employees to take days off during the holiday season. Have a candid discussion about what a typical day looks like, and what a typical year is like. Be sure to discuss the bad downsides of the job because they all have them.