Finding a Good Major in College: My Experience at CSI
By: Brian Spagnoli
I declared my major, Communications: Media Studies, before I even took my first class at CSI. To be honest, I didn’t know exactly where I felt I would fit in life. I knew I liked to create content—heck, I’m writing this right now!—but as far as what job opportunities I would get with my degree? Or how it would guide my path in life? I had no clue.
I just knew it involved some of the things I liked and worked on before. Some people may argue that my declared major had little sense to it. There were certainly other majors like Accounting, Business or Engineering that would yield a vast array of job opportunities after I had gotten my degree, but I had little interest in those fields.
Regardless of what those other degrees may offer, I hold absolutely no regrets at all with my degree choice. Those degrees may offer incredible things for some people, but they offered me very little.
A Communications: Media Studies major is a field of study in what I enjoy and if there was any one single piece of advice I could give to students it is this: “Do what you love to do.”
This contradicts what so many well-intending parents, and even other students, advise college freshman to do across the U.S. The people that suggest this typically define a “good major” as one with a good job opportunity at the end of it, but I would very much argue that a “good major” is entirely relative to the person looking to attain it.
I’ve seen it happen before at maybe half-a-dozen schools across the east coast: people critiquing others for choosing more artistic or creative majors like Film, Photography or Drama, among many other options.
It’s something that both perplexes and disappoints me that as a culture we can dismiss the aspirations of others as being unrealistic even when that is simply not the case.
According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, only 27 percent of college grads have a job related to their major, leading analysts to conclude that most jobs do not require a specific major to be awarded the job.
A “good major” does less to help a person’s quality of life than they may think. However, this is not to say that those “good majors” are bad.
A “good major” to me is simply defined as one that you like. There is a common myth that the corporate-world-esque majors will lead to certain employment in that field. However, the reality is that your ability to find a solid job after college comes down to your flexibility as a person, ability to think critically about your environment and connections you make throughout your life.
The world we live in is different from the world in which we were taught, and these types of skills and character-traits are what can carry students past their competition in the job market.
With this in mind, I heavily encourage students to be bold and explore a field of study that they feel a genuine interest in. This can lead to greater passion among students and better work and research being done in those fields from those students.
Happier people leads to more productivity across the board according to a 2015 Social Market Foundation and University of Warwick study.
Students can not only benefit themselves by studying subjects they actually enjoy, but they can also improve their future workplaces should they find the opportunity to do work where they want to.
Many students will say that their time invested in these niche majors would be wasted with little employment opportunity after, but if there is truly a dream job students want to pursue they should not feel discouraged by the lack of correlation between majors and jobs related to that major.
If there is a dream you have to go after something great, you can do it in whatever field you would like. Despite what naysayers may think, suggesting that your life aspirations may be unrealistic, I often go back to a quote from the late-great stand-up comedian, Mitch Hedberg.
“If you’re happy, that’s what success is about […] I watch my friends and they don’t love what they do. They do what they do, but they don’t love it.”
And who really cares about what kind of job you may have at the end of your major if you don’t love it.