KHALIQ: Getting into the college and choosing a major

Here is a step-by-step guide on how to choose your major

1. Identify your interests, abilities, passions, etc. 

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2. Consider the future job market 

3. Pick the right school with accreditation 

4. Give yourself time to change your direction multiple times

5. Ask for help (and give help)

6. Change your mind (again and again)

7. Feel lost (it is okay – reality check!)

8. Finally, degree completed. Congratulations! Now you need a job to get experience, but you need the experience to get a job (A classic Catch-22).  

Here is how this game starts: Welcome to College! You have completed your high school with perhaps some honor, all fresh, full of energy, excited and ready to conquer the world. You choose your major based on what you love without giving much attention to the future job market a few years from now. You go to the first day of classes, see lots of students, feel overwhelmed, exchange a few smiles, make your student id after waiting 45 minutes in the line and by the end of the day, you feel a little lost. The first month passes by so quickly… you score well at few tests and bad at others, all unexpected. You are reflecting on all the possibilities of low grades: “Who thought I would do badly on a basic business 101 class, I studied the whole night for it. When did the teacher teach this?

Oh maybe, the day I skipped the class because I was sick, damn it!” Finally, you made some good friends to study. They share what they hear about your course teacher, many negative and positive feedback. You feel lost about whether the teacher is not teaching you right or you are not smart enough. By this time, you are already finished with midterms. You were late at least in one midterm because you were studying the whole night. The teacher was kind (or in a good mood, you thought); s/he let you in. Its time to submit group projects “I hate them”, you hear everyone saying the same thing until one day you say it as well. You are angry and upset because your groupmates are not answering your text messages, no one shows up in meetings and those who do, you have to lead them. So, you basically end up doing 80 percent of the work. 

Finally, time for final exams. You forgot to bring your college id or the calculator. Ah! The semester has passed by so quick, you notice yourself saying that during the semester break. Grades are up on the intranet, some good (a couple of unexpected low grades). You wonder where did you go wrong? What you could have done to achieve your dream 4.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale. You are mentally exhausted, physically tired, but here comes the next semester. You have to repeat this with five courses in each semester for the next four years with a part-time job and other activities.

You question yourself, will I be able to do this? Do I have another option, you wonder? Some success and some failures are what makes your whole experience at the college. You are not the only one who feels lost, gets unexpected low grades. Choosing a major is not only about getting into college and getting a tick mark on those 40 courses. It is an experience where you will learn about yourself. You will get to know you. You will grow up to be a person who would come to know the world (or at least know who is sincere to you or not). You will have different feedback about a teacher than your friends. You will learn that it is okay to be not like someone but get the work done. It is okay to feel a little overwhelmed. You will have what you will make of this experience. Without realizing, you will be writing your memories for many years to cherish. 

Amna Khaliq is a Business Management Instructor at Northern Lights College. The views expressed are her own. She believes that kindness, smiles, love, and yawning is contagious. In her spare time, she likes traveling, cooking, reading and working out.

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