Choosing a major

Kelly Smith

The last thing I want to do is bore some unsuspecting readers to death with a topic they’ve already heard before, but with classes just beginning, I would imagine there are still students who either don’t yet have a major or are leaning towards a major they aren’t as thrilled about as they may think they are. I wrote a few articles previously about what made you choose Grand Valley State University and shooting for a career rather than a job, but I think it’s time to actually develop that starting point.

I don’t know what it’s like to be undecided, because I came into Grand Valley State University with my major in mind. However, I have friends who, at the time, were undecided. According to one of them, they simply take all general education courses until they find something that sticks out to them. Though GVSU doesn’t require it, it’s typical for students to declare a major by their junior year. Obviously, undecided students can’t spend their entire college career being undecided, but they also don’t want to go into something they have no passion for.

In previous articles, I’ve mentioned how it is important not to let parents or other loved ones push you into what they want you to do. So, how should one go about choosing a major?

In high school, I knew I wanted to go into music, but I was stuck on whether to go into education or performance. While respecting my future decision, my piano teacher of more than ten years strongly encouraged going into education due to the competition of the performance world and how striving to become a teacher would more likely find me a job. With this in mind, I settled on education with some reluctance at first. However, as I began taking classes for education, I began thinking about life as a performer. As much fun I would have traveling and performing, I wasn’t thrilled about being on the road too much, as a performer undoubtedly would be. Upon realizing this more closely, I began settling into education more and more. I realize there will still be traveling as a teacher, even performing on occasions, but it’s not something that will occur all the time.

Now, I realize that not everyone has these clear revelations when thinking about their major. Fortunately, this is exactly what advisors are here to help with. If you are undecided, speak to an advisor to explore what your options are. Speak about what interests you and how those interests fit into one of many programs offered at GVSU. On that note, there are other students who can offer more insight on what’s going on. There are literally resources everywhere.

There is no perfect way that will help every undecided student choose a major they will stick with. When dealing with someone who struggles with their major, we can offer our insight and point them in the right direction, even if that means leading them to an advisor or resource center. With how many resources there are on campus, finding a major or helping someone to do so is not an impossible task.