Choosing a major can feel like a daunting task, especially when some of us have indecision about what to eat for breakfast. There is a lot of pressure to find that perfect career match for your lifestyle, your goals as a potential parent or spouse, plus the enjoyment factor. Can you imagine doing this job for the next 40 years?

The truth is that if you interviewed successful career people across all disciplines, you’d find that many of them had a career path like this:


Not like this:


It means that even if you don’t pick your dream job perfectly the first time, your hard work in school WILL PAY OFF if you keep a few things in mind. Our student blogger Mary Mazzarella has some advice if you’re stuck.

Why Did I Choose My Major? Advice for Others Struggling to Choose Theirs

Mary Mazzarella is a general studies major from Portland. She works as a teaching assistant at Pumpkin Patch. She loves writing and is looking forward to getting more involved at MxCC. 

I have switched my major about three times, so I am probably not the best person to go to when wanting advice about choosing a major. I started out as a journalism major because I love to write, butMary_Mazzarella ultimately, that is not the lifestyle I wanted for myself. I was a secondary education major with a concentration in English, but everyone kept telling me I was better suited for the younger children. That made me switch again to early childhood.

Well, sort of.

Since I have so many credits toward a general studies associate’s degree, I am currently working on obtaining that along with my child development associates (CDA) which is a certification. Once I have my CDA, I might decide to go for my associate’s in early childhood, but for now I am happy with my current goals.

My advice for others trying to decide on a major would be to make sure it is something you enjoy doing.

Sure, engineers make great money (so I’ve heard), but would you really be happy in this field? If the answer is yes, then go for it.

If you are interested in a variety of things, think about where you want to be in five years and pick your major based on that. If you are interested in a certain field, but you are not sure on what to pursue, pick a major that is more general that you can use in more areas.

For example, if you know you want to work at DCF, but you are not sure about whether you want to be a social worker out in the field or behind a desk filling out paperwork, aim to get a degree in human services. That way, you can be sure you could work in the field but you have the freedom to go in multiple directions.

3 Rock Solid Pieces of Advice About Choosing a Major

1. Finish what you start

If you come to college with the idea of earning a degree or certificate, get that degree or certificate. It’s easy to be lured away by life events, money, job circumstances, and just plain ol’ exhaustion, but any degree or certificate — regardless of the field — shows an employer that you can follow through until the end. Many employers flush out resumes for potential jobs by simply looking at the education. No degree, no consideration. So finish if you can, even if you decide to pursue a field that is different.

2. Certain degrees can benefit you in multiple jobs

Take a degree in Psychology for example. This can lead you down the path of education, social work, scientific research, or even criminal justice. A degree in business, marketing, or design have similar flexibility. The majority of jobs are going to require some technology skills, not to mention people skills! If you aren’t completely sure of your path, pick a degree that gives you options.

3. Don’t forget your personality

If you’ve been an active and energetic person your whole life, a desk job won’t simply become manageable just because you’re now an adult. Everyone is born with natural skills and abilities that are with you for life, and a job that capitalizes on these strengths will be much easier to sustain long-term.