By Catherine O’Grady
College students are feeling an immense pressure in regards to declaring their undergraduate major as, in the minds of most college students, major selection has a direct correlation with future employment in a particular field. For those students who do not have a sense of the field that they wish to pursue, the selection of a major can be a daunting process. But, how important is your major to your chance of future employment?
For some jobs, your choice of degree will not help or hinder your chances of getting a job, as there is no set path to be hired for certain jobs. Employers are often looking for experience rather than a particular field of study, according to Forbes magazine, as work experience can foster the skills that will become essential in any job market. From jobs and internships comes networking that can become essential to employment more so than the specific title on an undergraduate degree. Useful skills that are learned in the classroom of any major, such as critical thinking skills and comprehension, can be utilized in a business profession.
According to the Education Department’s National Center for Education Statistics, a third of freshmen who enter college with a declared major end up changing it. Catholic University freshmen Carolyn Albright and Declan Waters are among this statistic of students that have changed their degree. Albright originally declared an economics major and has since switched to psychology, while Waters originally declared history but intends to switch to international business.
“I am satisfied with my choice of major now because I have come to realize it is something I can actually picture myself doing and loving,” Albright said. “I picked psych because it is a deeply human career path. I love people and want to help people, and psych provides a myriad of opportunities to help people while getting to know them in a one-on-one relationship.”
College is an opportunity to discover your passion and foster skills that will make you marketable in the workforce.
“I can apply my skills as a planner and negotiator to the real world in a way that I don’t think history could have done,” said Waters. “It seems more applicable to the type of people and situations that I’ll be running into within the world around me.”
Seniors who are on-track to graduate in May reflected on their experience at Catholic U, discovering what they loved and integrating their passions into their majors. Mary Schmitt, senior marketing major who started her college career undecided, discussed how her extracurriculars such as Program Board and working as a summer camp counselor led her to pursue a marketing major.
“[These] two [activities] allowed my creative side to combine with my organizational skills,” said Schmitt. “It was after talking to my parents that I realized my passions can be a career and studying marketing would give me the skills I needed to be successful at these types of things in the real world post-grad.“
College is supposed to be a time to discover who you are and to find the person who you want to be in the future. Students can oftentimes put too much pressure on themselves to have their lives completely figured out within their first few years when, according to The Balance Careers, the average person will change careers between 3 and 7 times in their life.
“You need to follow what is right in your heart and mind, not just one of them,” said junior civil engineering major Robert Sabbagh. “I know it sounds stupid but if you’re not completely happy with what you are doing you need to take a step back and scope into what really drives your passion.”