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Changing Tides Staff
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Freshman Erika Jackson is trying to find a major that will help her reality follow her passion.
“I’m so lost,” Jackson said. “I don’t know what it is that I want to study.”
Jackson’s major has changed three times. Jackson’s family, potential salary and desire to eventually have a family have all crossed her mind when choosing a major.
“I really just wanted to stop school for a while and do my own thing, but family won’t let me,” Jackson said.
When it comes to picking a major, the usual concept is to choose something that is both practical and likeable. Finding that balance is a big task and might take longer than the usual four years for Jackson.
“I just need more experience,” she said.
“Eventually [students will] be driven to go into a field that makes them happy,” Dr. Caryl Cooper, assistant dean of the College of Communication and information Sciences, said.
The fear of ending up like other people is the reason why Jackson is having a challenge when choosing her major. One of Jackson’s former jobs was Ruby Tuesday’s, a restaurant chain, where she saw many co-workers struggle to make ends meet while raising a family. Jackson says that that is her motivation to find a professional job with six figures.
“You work hard but you don’t get as much as you deserve,” she said.
Potential earnings is an issue for Jackson when choosing her major but also being content with what she does and being able to eventually raise a family.
Staff at the University Career Center said freshmen should slow down the process of trying to choose a major immediately.
“I see the value in not rushing the process,” said Ellen Pate, career consultant for freshmen.
“Sometimes I feel like I’m wasting time and money,” Jackson said. “ I have loans to pay.”
According to Pate, everyone is different and has a different style of finding their niche.
“There’s not one way,” Pate said. “ Everybody does it a little different.”
According to engineering consultant, Gayle Howell, choosing a major is not as easy as people may think.
“There’s no magic bullet about choosing a major,” Howell said.
According to the University Media Relations department, the business major has the most enrolled students. Career counselors say that for business students the earlier they start the better. Being involved with organizations on campus, networking and making good grades are all part of finding and keeping a job in the business industry.
“There’s lots of resources out there,” Susan Cowles, business career counselor, said.
“If a student is resourceful and looks at all avenues they’ll get a job.”
Most career counselors say that they are here to be a counselor not a fortune teller.
“ I don’t need to tell answers, I need to find a way to help them find the answer,” Amy Ratcliff, nursing career counselor, said.
The medical field jobs are in constant demand and, which attracts many students looking for security.
“Yes, some are here for intellectual gain and some are hopeful to secure a solid career in nursing,” Ratcliff said.
However, the majority of the students that come through Ratcliff’s office are usually motivated or passionate about nursing.
“The ones who get through actually really want to be a nurse,” Ratcliff said. “Those that are really passionate will do it.”
As far as advice to students who are undecided about their major Ratcliff, said it takes some time.
“I think they really need to explore life to figure out what they are passionate about,” she said.
However, most career consultants say to not shut the door on one major just because of what is perceived about it.
“You don’t want to shut the door because you think there might not be a job in it because you don’t know,” Cowles said.