If you are like most high school students, you probably wish you had a dollar for every time someone asked you “what you want to be when you grow up.” Just think; those dollars could go a long way toward paying for your college experience!
The truth is, although some high school students have a good idea what they want to major in (and what profession they may want to go into), many more do not. In fact, the most commonly quoted statistics say that, during college, the average student will change majors two and a half times. (I’m not sure how you change your major half a time!)
In addition, recent stats from the US Department of Education indicated that the average person will change employers 10 times during his or her lifetime, and will even change career fields three times.
What’s the take-away from these statistics? I think it’s this: If you approach college and don’t know what you want to major in, don’t worry. You’re not alone. One of the glorious things about college is that it’s an opportunity to explore many academic disciplines and potential employment fields. And many college graduates will end up working in a career area largely unrelated to their college major.
I count myself in this number. I majored in history and political science, mainly because those were subject areas I loved. In my whole life I have never been hired (or turned away) because of my college major. In general, my prospective employers assessed my written and verbal communication skills, my ability to collaborate with others, and my analytical skills. They were interested in what strengths I could bring to the organization – this was much more important than what I majored in.
A.G. Lafley, retired chairman of Proctor & Gamble, wrote: “The formula for businesses trying to compete in today’s economy is simple: hire employees with the mental agility, leadership and passion to navigate constant change.”
So if you want to have a fulfilling career (and life), I recommend that you start your college search by seeking a college that fits who you are – academically, socially, and (most importantly) spiritually. If you find it, you’re likely to thrive. And in the process of thriving (gaining self-confidence, collaborative skills and knowledge), you’ll find something you want to major in, and you’ll graduate as someone an employer will want to hire. Rather than an end in itself, your employment will be a by-product of your enjoyable and fulfilling college experience – something that will pay benefits for the rest of your life.