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Choosing a major

appleorchard19appleorchard19 10 replies6 threads Junior Member
I'm having trouble choosing a major and am scared that if i make the wrong choice, I will not live a fulfilling life. mainly feel pressured to choose something STEM because i've done well in all of my STEM classes at college, and that's where (most) of today's money is, plus I know it will make my parents proud. but i'm not sure if thats where i want to go. i just want to live a fulfilling life. i enjoy reading + writing and love disney, but not sure what sort of career/major that could lead to. feeling lost and nervous. really just looking for advice, I need to choose one soon because of the AP credit that i brought in. i want to be fulfilled and make money, but that's what everyone wants i guess??? please give advice ah thank u
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Replies to: Choosing a major

  • XtremeBlaze777XtremeBlaze777 159 replies16 threads Junior Member
    You can minor in journalism or creative writing or graphic design or even film. If you want the money with just a bachelor's, you kinda do need to do STEM. If you are willing to study further you can make a higher salary with an MBA, JD, or MD. Look back at your course history and try to remember which class you had the most fun in, that might help you decide your major.
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  • juilletjuillet 12783 replies163 threads Super Moderator
    Your choice of major is important, but it's not THAT important: making the "wrong" choice won't doom you to an unfulfilling life.

    It's true that there are certain fields in which more money and stability is to be had, and right now those fields are health/medicine and technology/sciences. However, remember that 1) too broad an interpretation of those fields won't serve you well; 2) the specific job you have in the field matters, too; 3) what salary is necessary for a 'fulfilling' life changes from person to person; 4) what the "hot" fields are that pay a lot change between decades and generations; and finally 5) the differences in employment between STEM and non-STEM majors are either nonexistent or very small.

    1) "STEM" is a catch-all term that has come to include many things, but there are big differences in income across the fields. A biology or chemistry major, for example, doesn't necessarily have the same skill set or employment opportunities as a mathematics or computer science major. They're not bad, they're not less-than - they're just *different*. Also, something like half of STEM majors don't actually work in STEM jobs after graduating (and that rate is higher in some STEM majors like biology or chemistry).

    2) Even if you narrow it down to a specific field - like technology - there are a wide array of jobs with different salaries and skill sets in that field. I work in technology, and you can do anything from software development (which is what most people think of) to graphic design to program management to UI/UX design to accounting & finance to corporate law to HR...and so many more. And you don't have to major in a STEM to do most of those things.

    3) With that said, what does a "fulfilling" life mean to you? Some people really want to make a high salary so they can live a certain kind of lifestyle, and that's totally fine. For other people, being passionate about their work or making a difference or doing something interesting or artistic is more important to them. These values may also change a lot over your lifetime - for example, when you're younger and only supporting yourself, salary may be less of a concern for you (over and above a certain level) than when you get older and start thinking about a family, a house, your 401(K). I've also seen some people for which it's gone the opposite way - they cared about making a lot of money early on, but decided to move into something they were more passionate about later on.

    It's difficult to make this judgment when you're in high school or college and you don't really know how much things cost yet. If your parents aren't too antsy about talking about money, I'd start having some talks with them about how much things cost and how they decide to spend their money (personally, I'd do this separately - it's interesting to hear how your parents, two different people, differ on how they think about money, and you learn more that way).

    4) When graduated from high school and started college in the fall of 2004, tech actually wasn't that appealing, because this was in the wake of the dot-com bubble, and most of the current hot tech companies didn't exist yet. The hot fields to enter at the time were real estate, law (by going to law school), and finance. International affairs, foreign languages, and political science were also popular because of the foreign wars we had going on at the time and the rise of Middle Eastern and Asian relations. But I graduated from college in 2008, at the height of the financial crisis, and those were no longer the hot fields - and tech began to rise again.

    What I'm saying is that just because STEM is popular and lucrative right now doesn't mean it will be for the rest of your life, or even 10 years into the future. You should pick a major and a career that's based on YOUR interests, and savvy workers know how to increase the skills and experience needed to stay relevant in the workplace.
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