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Many freshmen feel anxious about their majors. Most believe that their major will determine their future: what they do and how much they get paid.
So what happens if you don’t like your major, or know nothing about its career prospects? What are your options?
Experts advise students not to panic. Worrying about their choice of major causes most first-year students stress, according to Bai Jing, an instructor at Shantou University.
“There are always a few students who arrive on campus knowing exactly what they want from their major and what their career ambitions are, but the majority just don’t know or only have a vague idea,” he said.
“There is no need to rush to a conclusion on whether you like your major or not or if it suits you.”
Instead, students should devote their time and energy to fully exploring their academic and career interests. This should take priority over decisions such as changing your major.
In practical terms this means that if a student has no idea what he or she want to do, they should first narrow the focus from all possible majors down to a few selected areas.
Luo Jialiang, 21, a junior who changed his major from electronic engineer to law in his first year at Fudan University, shared his experience.
“Ask yourself these questions: What things excite you most? What jobs or careers appeal to you?”
He recommends that if students are indecisive they take a career assessment. Career centers on campus usually offer this service in addition to a variety of personality tests.
Once a student has figured out his or her interests, they need to examine their abilities and make sure they can handle the study and work assignments in this field.
“Think about what your weaknesses and strengths are, such as logical reasoning,” he said.
Cai Xiaoming, a biology professor at Peking University, reminds students that many choose certain majors just to follow the crowd. But without talking to teachers or practitioners in the field, they seldom get the right picture.
“Some consider the biology major to be of little use as you can hardly earn big money; others think they can go abroad with this major,” he said. “Both are unrealistic.”
Students should be patient and not make any hasty decisions. Some universities offer double majors, or even triple majors, if you really can’t decide.
Hao Jian, a senior human resources consultant at Zhaopin.com, a leading HR service site, says that a college major is important for a person’s first job after graduation.
But he also points out that studies show most people change careers four or five times in their lives.
“No existing major can prepare you for that,” he said. “And you should believe that all things you learn on campus will be of help at some point in your life.”