Help with Major Choice/Ramblings of a Conflicted Sophomore

<p>I go back to school in a couple weeks as a sophomore and I am still terribly undecided about my major choice. I see myself working in reseach and development, post-secondary education, education reform, or journalism but the whole question of specialty is a big question mark. Any advice?!! Here are the puzzle pieces:</p>

<p>1) SKILLS: I have always been a strong writer and would like to incorporate that into my career. But I'm picky. I would rather write for general audiences rather than a small, esoteric group of scholars. In addition, if I pursued a writing career via journalism, I would not want to be covering news stories, but publishing feature articles based on sociological analysis as well as books on diverse subjects like popular science, history, law, biographies. The trouble is that writing is a general skill that can be linked to any major...
I am also good at drawing, analysis, and math.</p>

<p>2) INTERESTS: I'm a general, interdisciplinary thinker. My favorite subjects include biology, sociology, cognitive science and psychology, and history. I also enjoy reading nonfiction, drawing, and learning about 3D design. I'm also pretty practical--I like reading about theory but sometimes I think scholars write papers that are needlessly wordy and complicated, or even overanalytic.</p>

<p>3) OTHER: I see people doing all of these cool things in the sciences and engineering--making new discoveries and inventions--and sometimes I wish I could do it myself. Compared to the general pop, I've always been above average in math and science but not outstanding--and now that I'm attending an Ivy, the discrepancy between the can-do and can-do-more is even larger. At the very least, I would like to switch up my writing with some quantitative analysis so my head won't explode.</p>

<p>Sorry this is such a long post. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I've spent hours soul-searching and researching careers and majors online.</p>

<p>What do you think about Philosophy?</p>

<p>Only you can really decide. While your choice of major may not necessarily determine your career, it is an important decision. You also have to be more open to jobs you may get…few people start off with their dream job. I assume you don’t have to decide until 4th semester, which means you still have another semester and a bit to decide. I would just continue on taking courses in areas you might like…often times upper level classes are completely different to intro classes. </p>

<p>I will second the Philosophy suggestion by blackbird though. Logic courses, courses on morals, etc. will all require interdisciplinary thinking. Logic will allow you to think about things in a new way. </p>

<p>I don’t know what it’s like at your school but most people will have to graduate late if they don’t already know they want to do engineering when they enter as a freshmen (unless you’ve already done Calculus, Physics, Chemistry, etc.). Perhaps make a list of every possible major and start crossing things off?</p>

I just made a similar topic a few days ago, which derailed into something about liberal arts majors being useless or something…
My main fear is regret because once you go down a path, it takes a long time to go back and go down another… I can’t tell you anything especially since I’ve also got a huge list of random butt interests, but I can tell you that reading up on majors and e-“soul searching” barely tells you about a major. You can’t find out what the major is actually about until you take some actual classes in the major.</p>

<p>Haha I love the criticisms against liberal arts majors being “useless”. In my opinion, a liberal arts education is perfect for someone who is still searching and growing. It helps enrich you as a person and that is what undergrad education is all about. Your interests will be shaped through life experiences and it will become clear to you in time. I suggest that you declare the major that you excel in the most (assuming you are interested in it as well) thereby having the highest GPA possible and in result more opportunities. I mentioned philosophy because it is broad, but teaches you how to critically think which can be applied to any field after undergrad.</p>

<p>Thanks for all your input!</p>

<p>rymd: You’re right; online career research should only supplement information gleaned from the college classes one has already explored. This is exactly what I am doing. In the past year, I’ve run the gamut with classes in history, drawing, Spanish, computer science, Islam and the Middle East, calculus, political philosophy, and psychology. I am using my final weeks of the summer to reflect on my performance in and interest for those classes, but I still don’t feel like I really “clicked” with one department. In your opinion, do you think it takes 2 or 3 different classes to get the feel of a department, or just taking one higher level course (which I have not been able to do yet)?</p>

<p>Marcdvl and Blackbird914: That’s interesting because I don’t think I ever seriously considered pursuing philosophy…I’d like to learn more about logic and conceptions of morality, but how the philosophy of different disciplines is structured (philosophy of language, physics, art, etc.) is a complete mystery to me. I found my political philosophy class last semester a little dry, but I would be willing to try another course before crossing off the department for good. Would you say that philosophy majors graduate with more of a toolset for analysis than a body of knowledge?</p>

<p>I would definitely say that…a thought that occurred to me after my ethics class this summer is that philosophy gives you a filter through which to see the world. You are learning valuable skills, both academically and personally, all-the-while studying the big ideas and questions that we all face in life. It definitely is a toolset for thinking, but you do get a body of knowledge in regards to the major theories and ideas that have shaped our society and ways of thinking.</p>