Are you feeling stress over choosing your major or career path? Many people feel stress because they think that once they select their major, they are forever chained to a related career path. However, statistics show that over 80% of people in today’s workforce are in career fields unrelated to their college majors. What is most important is to identify what transferable skills you can develop in your major, such as communication and analytical skills, which are in high demand by employers across all industries.
To further dispel this myth—“that major = career”–we got the scoop from 3 professionals who discussed their college majors in relation to their current occupations.
Melanie Zentner, Campus Recruiter
(History/Germanic Studies Major)
“During my undergraduate studies, I chose my majors, History and Germanic Studies, based on the classes in which I had preformed the best and found most enjoyable. At that point I was not thinking about what majors or courses would lead to a particular career and was frankly, uncertain what I wanted to do upon graduation. However, I knew that a broad-based liberal arts education would serve me well in whatever I decided to do. I am now a campus recruiter at a Big Four Public Accounting firm. My educational and professional background is very different from that of my colleagues, but it’s that diversity of experience that adds to the depth of our campus recruiting organization. “
Christa Dryjanksi, Senior Business Analyst
“When I chose my major in Marketing, I wasn’t sure where it would lead me. But within 3 weeks of graduation from college, I had a full-time job with Stryker Endoscopy, a company that specializes in Medical Devices for minimally invasive surgeries. I quickly found my calling in the Information Technology (IT) department navigating, troubleshooting, and understanding the systems that I used every day. It was just a natural fit when I was asked to be a part of the team that would launch the new operating system for the entire division. This experience gave me the basis for my current position, which is a Senior Business Analyst who works with various business departments on identifying new processes that either need to be built or updated in our operating system. I am a long way from where I thought my marketing degree would take me, but this unexpected and inspiring path has shown me that if you keep your options open and work hard, anything is possible, no matter where you start from.”
Tyler Quinlan, Recruiter
“I majored in Communications with a specialization in news writing and reporting. After college I followed my dreams and career aspirations to be a journalist and worked in television which I enjoyed and found personally very satisfying. However, when it came to practicality in terms of compensation and lifestyle, I realized it might not be the best lifelong career path for me. Now that I’m in recruiting/ human resources, I find it more financially rewarding and it provides me with a regular schedule and stability. But I do miss the creative and personal fulfillment that came from working in television which was my passion. I have determined that when it comes to choosing a career there will always be some type of compromise but the important thing is to figure out what matter most to you!”
As you can see, your major does not have to relate to your future career path. If you don’t have a career in mind, don’t stress. Most college students aren’t sure what they want to do after school. The best place to start is by choosing a major that you feel good about. College is a great time to get to know yourself and start exploring your options.
Keep in mind, SJSU students will soon need to declare a major by 60 units, and will not be allowed to change majors after 90 units per our recent SJSU presedential directive. Therefore it’s important not to put off choosing or changing your major and to put some time into researching your options.