I entered college, fall 2003, a young and ambitious accounting major. I picked accounting because I knew they made a lot of money and I was pretty bada$$ with a TI-83. While I did well in my first macroeconomics course, I quickly realized that “business” related subjects were of no interest to me. My introduction to psychology course, however, was a different story. I was fascinated by the content. I loved learning about the brain and how people work. I changed my major after my first semester, and eventually walked across the stage with a B.A. in Psych.
I don’t regret being a psych major for one minute. I loved my classes, LOVED my professors (I actually played tennis with them every Tuesday and Thursday morning), and just generally loved the whole psych department. That said, if I traveled back in time to 2003, I am 99% sure I would not graduate with a degree in psychology.
While I may have loved the content and the people in my major, I didn’t really love the career fields psych generally leads to (i.e. counseling). I almost feel like my degree limits my potential, especially when it comes to job hunting. My degree does very little to highlight my strengths. When a recruiter reviews my resume and sees a B.A. in Psychology, he is not going to know that I also took Organic Chemistry, Physics, Calculus, Statistics, and Biochemistry (none of which were required by my major). While I could have taken “bowling”, “Intro to photography”, or some other class to satisfy the credits required to graduate, I decided to take challenging courses for my general electives.
Do I believe your major is the determining factor in one’s career potential? Absoultely not. But there are positions I would love to apply for, but can’t, simply because I don’t have a degree in business administration or the like. Take for example the Finance industry. It would be darn near impossible for me to land an interview for any kind of legitimate position in the financial sector… even though I may be more knowledgeable and capable than other applicants with business related degrees. Ten years down the road, I’m sure my education will become less of a factor with prospective employers, but when you are 24 years old, and have only a few years of work under your belt, you better believe your education is going to be HEAVILY considered.
That said, I refuse to let my degree be a limiting factor in my career growth. There are a million different means by which I can prove to my prospective employer that I really am the best candidate for the job, even if my degree is not specifically related to the field. And you better believe I will be highlighting each of those strengths during my next interview.
If I had the opportunity to do college again I would probably get my degree in Statistics or Math. And I would probably have gone to a state school instead of a private college (although I totally loved my school). Gosh, this makes me want to go punch a business major in the face (only kidding). Okay, I’m done dwelling on the past. Time to move forward.
What was your major in college?
If you could do college again, would you choose a different major?
If you didn’t go to college, do you wish you did?
Anyone out there that went to college, wish they hadn’t?
p.s. if you are wondering if you blew it when you picked your major, take a look at this chart of the ten “worst” college degrees…
College Degrees Starting Salary
- Social Work $33,400
- Elementary Education $33,000
- Theology $34,800
- Music $34,000
- Spanish $35,600
- Horticulture $37,200
- Education $36,200
- Hospitality/Tourism $37,000
- Fine Arts $35,800
- Drama $35,600