Editor Speaks Out: A major decision leading to indecision

Sharon Ng

Since childhood my parents have stressed the importance of an education. My parents did not go to college so it was even more important that I went. They constantly reminded me that only with a good education would I have a good life.

While I was applying to colleges everyone, including my friends, relatives and teachers, kept telling me that I had to declare a major. My major would lay the foundation for my future career. That whole concept intimidated me because I had no idea what I wanted to pursue. Therefore, instead of worrying about getting into college, I worried that I would fail at life. Without a major, I would not get a good job. Without a good job, I would not make any money and without any money, I would not be able to live the good life my parents always talked about. However, I had a real interest in psychology so I decided to declare that as my major and see how that would work out.

Now that I look back, I wish I knew then what I know now. I wish I knew that people change their majors. I wish I knew that people do not always find jobs related to their majors. I wish I knew that people change their jobs. I wish I knew that it’s okay to not know what I want to do with my life. I wish I knew that college is all about experimentation.

As a psychology major, I found many of my courses fascinating but it wasn’t until recently that I realized it’s not right for me. I do not want to make a living diagnosing patients based on abnormal behaviors and prescribing drugs or putting them in institutions. I wanted to change my major but I didn’t know what to until I came across sociology. I took a social problems class in which I learned about the ways people interact with one another in society. I learned about poverty and crime and public policy, things that were applicable and practical in real life. I loved the class so much that I declared sociology as my new major.

I still don’t know what I want to do but I know that my major doesn’t hold all the weight. The extra-curricular activities I am involved with have helped me develop certain strengths and refine my career goals. In particular, my position as Opinion Editor of The Chronicle has introduced me to a field I hadn’t considered before. The work I do is enjoyable and the hands-on experience is invaluable.

Now that I am thinking about graduate programs, I still don’t know what I want to do. I am leaning towards journalism but I do not want to give up sociology. I have found that the need to declare a major really inhibits my growth as a student. Why should I have to limit my interests only to the classes that allow me to graduate on time? There are so many paths I want to explore but can’t without wasting precious time and money. So although I have settled for sociology as my major, I am still going to keep my options open and see what opportunities come my way. Maybe I’ll be able to find a career that allows me to blend both fields together.