Gregory Nadjarian

naturalist,

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What is the best way to choose a major?

If you were to give an advice to a friend, a spouse, or a child as to how to choose a major, what would it be?

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    Mar 1 2013: One simple answer: Look at what TED videos you've favorited. Then find the common thread connecting most of them.
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    Mar 1 2013: I'd say use the first year of college to explore the fields that interest her and then to choose the major that is most compelling in terms of her interests while also continuing to explore a range of areas that develop critical thinking and writing and that expose her to the best teaching professors at the university.
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    Mar 1 2013: I don't think I'd give advice, I'd ask a bunch of questions.
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    Mar 1 2013: The best choice I have ever made in my life was to spend the first two years of college taking electives and literally discovering my interests. Taking courses was not just studying and passing tests, it was about getting exposed to experiences, people and environments.

    I cant imagine being able to determine what i want to major in and probably do for the rest of my life without this valuable decision.

    It is risky, and one cannot do well in all those classes. Sometimes one might never find their true passion being taught in classes. I know someone who dropped college because of this.

    Another option though would be to choose the closest major to one's interests and then trying to *sew* their very own degree to fit their desires and needs. This is exactly what I am doing now.

    I used to think that the most important thing to put into consideration when choosing a major is to love what I am doing. Which is true to some extent, but finding a job is important too. So would probably tell whoever asks for my opinion to put in their mind that they are studying to find a job, so they want to look for demanded degrees in the market.
  • Mar 3 2013: Listen to your heart,do what u like:)
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      Mar 4 2013: I agree Edulover....follow your heart. Use the critical thinking process to figure out the details. The major interest may change throughout the life experience...be open to possibilities...enjoy the learning journey.

      Learning is a way of travel....not just a destination. I have followed my heart through several different life careers/adventures, and each one has become lucrative. To me, it seems very limiting to believe that our interest will remain the same for the rest of our lives......that could be a VERY LONG time!
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    Mar 2 2013: Self discovery is important for someone who wants to choose a major. Greg Dahlen is right about asking a couple of important questions. Schooling should be seen as a contribution to the talent and natural endowment that one already has, sometimes some skills are needed to maximize such.
    So, asking the right questions and learning about various disciplines and courses to see which one of them would provide the needed strength for one´s talent and abilities is the right way.
  • Mar 1 2013: Chose according to interest. I've got a historymajor and I choose it because I found it interesting, even though everyone kept telling me that that was not where 'the money' was. Find out what peeks your interest, look back at what kind of subjects you loved the most in school and why.
    Don't ever chose something because it is what others want you to chose, that lesson I've been taught by my father. He knew what he was talking about: he choose wrong.

    I have to admit; in comparison to American students, us Belgian students are very priviliged. University education is available to the majority. We do not need a loan. Fees are between 580 and 1200€ (not counting the books off course). So I suppose we are more free in our choices. I know that with tuitionfees like in America one is tempted to chose a major that has a 'future' but the most important future is your own. Most people starting at university don't understand when someone asks them 'where do you want to be in 30 years'. They don't have an answer. I do: in 30 years I want to be able to look back and say: "I choose well."
    Life is about learning, not just knowledge but happiness as well and how can you ever be happy if you choose something because of 'the money'.

    Chose according to interest, no mather what anyone says.
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      Mar 1 2013: Thanks, Kim. History is also one of my favorite subjects. I also love Art History. You bring an interesting point, which Ghina Zand Alhadid also touches up on. You say, "... in 30 years I want to be able to look back and say: 'I choose well.'...". I agree with you. But, I also agree with GZA - the point of choosing a major and getting a degree is to eventually find a job and make money. It doesn't have to be huge amount of money, but the degree should be in a field where jobs will be available right? In other words, what would be the point of getting a degree, and never work in that field because jobs are not available (or very hard to find)? So, perhaps the answer is to have a healthy compromise of both thoughts?
      • Mar 1 2013: Ah! The compromise... When I was 18 I actually choose a compromise: I always wanted to study history but I was afraid of going to university. So I choose a study that was what you would call a healthy compromise: I became a highschool teacher... It took me 4 years (had redo the last...) but I made it. But after that I wasn't satisfied, also my historyprofessor told me that I should go to university. So after a detour in Egyptology (don't ask...) I eventually ended up in history. And you know what? I graduated last year, I will most likely never hold a job as a historian (allthough I came VERY close). But I am not sad over that.
        I did not study history to get a well payed job. And you know, I am not longer a teacher either... Very soon I will become a travel representative. It has nothing to do with history but it will allow me to see the world. I didn't get this job based on my history major either...

        I suppose a 'healthy compromise' is a good idea but it is not a garantee for either a job or hapiness... I know that because of my choices, not just my choice in studies, I have chosen a less an 'easy' life. So be it, I would still make the same choices (well, maybe not egyptology). Why? Because it is my life, because it is my choice. I do not want to follow a layed out path, I make my own path. That means that, allthough I will still make compromises, these will be compromises made on my terms, not on the terms of society. If that means I won't be able to afford an iphone, so be it.
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    Mar 4 2013: As some people have said before, choosing the right major isn't about looking for the big money but about the things you really love in your life. You have to dig inside yourself and you have to find out what drives you in your life and you have to find out what you are passionate about.

    I'm at the moment in my second year applied economics at the university of Antwerp and when I speak to some of my friends I am surprised by the lack of passion they have about their studies. They find some of the stuff we see interesting but they just doesn't know what they are dealing about. They forget about the real purpose of a major which is giving you college in the thing where you think that you can make a difference in. Choosing a major is maybe just too early for some persons. We maybe don't have the knowledge of life yet which give us the ability of connecting the things we are interested in.

    I think that when you really want to find the right major you will have to take time for yourself. You have to take time to draw a little map where you write down which lessons you liked at high school, the hobby's you have, the things you're interested in and most of all the things where you can get really upset about. These last ones gives a fair view about what is driving you. When you look at this map, you must try to connect every single thing you've written down and then it will be about finding the connection between all these things. Finding the right major is about finding the connection between ability and passion. It's a balance and most of us have troubles to find these balance, but still, the only one to find this balance will be the person who has to do the major and eventually, you will find your interest.

    Maybe you makes the wrong the wrong decision but then you will have a major of life, with classes that you will found in the world around you.
  • Mar 4 2013: Start with a discipline which teaches critical thinking. After a year of that you may be better prepared to decide where to go next. Learn how to learn. The rest will come.
  • Mar 3 2013: I say to my 18 yr old all the time...all choices come with compromises.....

    "Perfection is a 9, not 10. When you embrace the missing 1 in any life's choices, you will know where and how to find the rest"
  • Mar 1 2013: Okay I will borrow from Fritzie a bit, but it helps to study that which one is interested. Unfortunately, one only has limited information. With student loans being so brutal the new students need to be sure that they can get jobs. Oh yes, in America jobs have been eliminated.