This blog is for all my underclassmen, especially sophomores, who I know are going through the process of declaring a major, or for anyone else stuck with major decisions (that’s punny).
It is very hard for many people to choose their college major. Statistics show that 50%-70% of students change their majors at least once, and most will change majors at least three times before they graduate. Numerous schools make it so that you must have a major in mind before you attend; some even make it so you have to apply to the “school” that has your major in it. For me, it was very important to go to a school that had a broad yet focused education so that I was not just focusing on one thing. I’d like to say that I think it would be pretty boring to take classes in only one field for four years or even more.
What I have learned is that liberal arts schools like Pomona enable you to gain critical thinking skills that you can use across all fields. Even though I am a media studies major, I have taken a math class, a psychology class, and other classes that I am able to connect to concepts I learn in my media studies classes. Next semester, I have decided I am going to take a computer science class, just to get some extra skills that I may be able to use for the future. And that’s okay, because not only does my school wants us to delve into different disciplines, they encourage it. I believe this to be the only way to truly find out what you want to do. Taking different classes helps you see what you definitely don’t want to do, which helps you find something you have an interest in even if you never knew you has an interest in it.
Ever since I was little, I knew I wanted to be a journalist. When I was looking to apply to schools, that program was definitely a huge factor for me. Journalism/Media was my intended major and I have stuck with it because I have a passion for the media and everything the program has to offer. I was set on going to a really great journalism school, like USC or Northwestern, but then I discovered Pomona. Not the most well-known school for journalism, but very academically challenging and community centered–I fell in love. When I do have tinges of doubt about my decision to come to Pomona, I realize again and again that college is not just about what your major is. Yes, it matters, but you are going to get a good education at any elite school you choose. At Pomona, I am gaining knowledge from across disciplines and am having the true liberal arts undergraduate experience.
So I say, yes, majors matter, but I wouldn’t get too caught up in worrying about them. Especially because as we grow, our interests tend to expand as well. I know that Pomona may have not been the most prestigious choice for me to go and study “journalism” per say, but I know the well-rounded person I am becoming will be much more useful in the future anyway. So if you are still an underclassmen, or even if you are just now applying to colleges, I advise you to take classes that you would never have thought about taking. In the long run, it will make a difference, and you will be happy you did. We cannot limit our minds from gaining knowledge outside our majors. That would be way too easy.