It’s Okay to Not Know
I think for anyone in college, the most difficult part is finding a degree program. For some maybe it’s so simple because they’ve known what they wanted to for all their life. Regardless when we are faced with the decision ‘What degree do you want to pursue for a career?’ It’s pretty scary because we believe that the piece of paper with the degree we will come to obtain will be a stamp to our forever career.
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It took me a while to finally realize this piece of paper, very expensive piece of paper, doesn’t have to be a definitive future for me. Although I want a degree in XYZ doesn’t mean I am limited to the things I can do with my career. When I originally intended on obtaining a degree in Legal Studies, I felt great I thought it was my calling in life, even finding a job in the legal field.
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Well, I shortly came to realize that I was learning a lot more from my job in a law firm than I was in class, then I came to realize that this wasn’t what I wanted to do. Luckily landing that job gave me great experience and skills I’ve used in other jobs and in life. Such as time management, client confidentiality, and personable skills.
Some advice when deciding on a degree: Don’t think it’s the end of the world if you’re not sure, because we feel this constant pressure that this degree will be our forever career. In fact it’s merely a stepping stone or tool to get us to where we will be in life.
5 Tips For Choosing A Degree
Don’t Rush the Process
Don’t think that you’ll know overnight which degree to declare. Take it from me, who has changed their degree 6 times. So many times I thought ‘this is my calling’ later to find out it wasn’t. Take sometime to really think on it. Let’s be honest, college is expensive and I wasted a lot of money on classes for a degree program that I don’t even need.
I could have a Bachelors degree with the amount of credits I have at the moment, but I don’t because they’re from so many different degree programs. You’ll land your dream job sooner than you’ve imagined, and you’ll eventually come to find out what you want to do in life, so take it slow and don’t rush the process.
You'll eventually come to find out what you want to do in life, so take it slow and don't rush the process.Click To Tweet
I had the mentality when starting college that I would finish in 4 years, so when I didn’t I became super hard on myself and extremely frustrated. Just because it took you a little longer to find out what to major in, doesn’t make us less worthy or not good enough.
Don’t think You need to know your first day of freshman year
As a Freshman it can be really pleasing to say “I’m majoring in XYZ”, and already start taking core courses for a degree program. This was me my freshman year. My very first class was an Intro to Legal Studies course. Which is fine, I believe just taking introduction courses will allow you to see if you’ll even enjoy it.
Instead of taking all the recommended core courses for that program, take several intro courses in fields you’re interested in. This will give you a little taste for what’s to come in this field.
I wish I would have stuck to taking general education courses the firsts two years to get them out of the way, and then start taking core courses for whichever degree. It’s okay because you live, and you learn.
Get experience in the field prior to declaring your major
Classes can’t teach real world experience. Personally, I’ve learned more hands on versus in the classroom setting. Take this into consideration and see if the program you’re interested in offers job shadowing, internships or try a part time job in that field.
I’m incredibly thankful I landed a job at a law firm, otherwise I wouldn’t have known that it wasn’t for me. I could have graduated with a degree in Legal Studies only to find out it’s not what I wanted. If you don’t want to try and get a job in that field I highly recommend reaching out to someone in that field or a company in that field to see if you could do a job shadow.
Consider your talents and passions
What are you good at? What are you most passionate about? Maybe you’re not sure, and that’s fine because we discover ourselves as time passes by. I probably couldn’t have answered these with a straight answer 5 years ago, and my passions have shifted a little. What I do know is that over the past 5 years my passion has been to help others.
I’m most satisfied when a customer or client thanks me for my service, and appreciates what I do. To me, that’s my passion. Helping others. Now this has taken different forms over the past 5 years. I was a legal clerk who ran errands and built relationships with others from different agencies, I was an intern at a nonprofit organization, and I was a leasing consultant for a property management company.
In those years I have learned that no matter what I decide in life, I know I want to help others in some form. Take blogging for instance, I use blogging as outlet to help and encourage other twenty-somethings.
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This is very cliche but true: never settle for less than your capable of. That goes for anything in life, but also applies to finding a degree. It’s easy to just settle for a degree in XYZ because you don’t think you can get a degree in another field, because it’s harder to get in. With the right mindset I guarantee that you can do more than you are capable of.
Because I refused to settle on a degree, I’ve become a 5th year senior and that’s okay. I know that I’m seeking a different career path but that still doesn’t mean I should settle on what I set out to do when I initially enrolled in college: Graduate with a Bachelors Degree.
5 Tips for Choosing a College Degree, and it's okay not to know.Click To Tweet
Like I said a degree is a tool and resource, almost like a stepping stone into your career. So don’t think just because you have an Accounting degree, you have to go work for an accounting firm. Or if you have a general business degree you have to go work for a corporation. Use the skills and knowledge you learned to further yourself in your career or your own buisness.
The world is a big scary place, and as a twenty-something it’s hard facing the decision of what to do with my life. Truth is we won’t really know until we step outside our comfort zone, do a little soul searching, and don’t settle. These tips have helped me in realizing it’s okay to not know what I want to do, and it’s okay if it takes me more time to figure it out.
Just remember: Life is tough, but so are you my darling.