"Many students have concerns about choosing a major and career paths. They’re inundated with clichéd career advice that isn’t always useful – 'follow your passion' or 'listen to your parents' or 'be a doctor' or 'choose a career that has jobs.' Students experience societal pressure from friends and family to choose a major and not be 'undecided,' when in reality, a hasty, poorly-made decision will lead to further frustration.
Choosing a major is like going to the mall. Occasionally you go into one store, find the perfect shirt, shoes or gadget, and you go home. But I encourage students to visit the metaphorical mall and look around. Check out the social work store. Browse through the business boutique. Look at the biology booth. That means talking to students and professors in those departments. That means researching jobs and occupations available in those fields. Learn about different academic areas before choosing.
I also see a tendency by some students to hone in on a specific job or career field. And then they say to me, 'I just want to know this is the right choice.' But even with tools such as career assessments and occupational resources, there’s no guarantee. People change, and that includes what they value in work, what their abilities are and what fuels their interests.
I teach a one-hour class to undecided freshman and seek to dispel some myths by sharing the following realities: there is no perfect job. Your major might not lead to your career. You will likely have more than one job in your lifetime. So when providing career counseling to students, I encourage them to take the next best step. And sometimes that means going to the mall."