How to Choose a College Major
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How to Choose a College Major

So you can finally answer your Grandma when she asks.

Picking a college major is hard, stressful and a little bit scary. The major you end up choosing needs to be something you're interested in. Think about it: You'll be deciding your career based on what you've learned from it.

College is all about preparing yourself for the real world. While the major you end up choosing in college doesn't necessarily need to have anything to do with what your career ends up being, it should teach you a lot about what you could see yourself doing, and what you couldn't see yourself doing. Classes that you were good at in high school, and topics you enjoy learning about should all go into to choosing a college major. (Pro tip: this quiz can help you decide.)

Most schools let you wait until at least the end of your freshman year of college to declare a major, which is good. That gives you a little time to explore some general classes that your college has to offer until you know for sure which major you want to pursue for the rest of your college years.

Yes, some majors are much harder than others. But that shouldn't stop you from choosing a major that you find most intriguing and that you can see yourself working with and learning about for at least a couple of years.

Selecting a college major should end up being exciting. You finally have a chance to choose which classes you take and what you learn about. And honestly, if you are caught between choosing two college majors, there's are so many options for that, like double majoring and minors.

Even after selecting a college major, it's very normal to not know exactly what you want to do. And if you come into college being set on a career, then good for you, you'll have a much easier time selecting a college major. But if you're like me, and still don't know what you want to do with your life, do not fret.

And remember: choosing a college major should be exciting!

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What You Should Know About Being a Journalism Major

First off, watch Spotlight.

Getting into journalism was, in a way, given to me. I had started off freshman year as a screenwriting major at Drexel University. For a number of personal reasons, I left Drexel and applied to UT Austin with the goal of getting into their Radio-TV-Film program.

I wanted to keep writing and hoped to learn about all the technology that goes into radio and film. I also wanted to get into radio production. About a week later, I got an email saying I might be a better fit for journalism.

That had never occurred to me before. Journalism always reminded me of bad school papers and yearbooks with typos. But I thought it might be different at a university level.

So I went for it, and haven't looked back since. Here's what I learned.

It's not just writing.
Being able to write, and write well, is a big part of journalism, but it's so much more than that. When you start out as a reporter, you are on your own. Once you get an assignment, especially for TV news, you are largely on your own and are trusted to film, edit and write all your own material.

If you're writing for the web, you have to know how to code, design graphics, edit video, and manage multiple social media sites.

It's hard if you're introverted.
If you're introverted, talking to people you don't know, asking them questions, and basically leading the interview can be daunting.

The first interview I ever did was with director a local film festival. My boss looked over my questions beforehand, set up the interview, showed me how to record a Skype call and sat ten feet away in case anything bad happened. Interviews probably have one of the more scary learning curves, but once you figure out how to excel at it, you feel like such a badass professional.

You learn more about your own city.
In class you aren't given fake news to write stories about. You go out and find that shit yourself. Facebook, word-of-mouth, school event boards, flyers--you get the idea.

You also get outside your comfort zone when you're a journalism student because at some point you wind up in what you think is a sketchy part of town, which you find out ends up having amazing people working to keep it a community. You don't get that in a classroom.

You read news from all over the world.
When you start out, many professors will encourage you to get a Twitter account to start building up your online presence and to keep your finger on the pulse of what's going on.

My Twitter feed became my morning paper, I followed more news outlets and organizations on facebook and Twitter so that when my professors asked what was going on in the news that day, I would have something to contribute or talk about.

If you're spending hours in the library, you're doing it wrong.
One of the biggest critiques about communication majors like film or journalism is that it's so much easier than things like engineering because you don't have as much homework. WRONG!

We have to be out there talking to people and interacting with the world in a way that isn't more or less hard than math and physics, but it's a different kind of difficult.

You spend as much time outside the classroom as in it.
Sure, you're going out into the world to find stories and people to talk to, but there are some things you might learn in a classroom setting, as well: InDesign for magazine layouts, how you can and can't use Photoshop in a hard news story, Final Cut for videos-you get the idea.

You have to carry yourself like a professional.
As a student, you won't always get a fancy press badge. The trick is walking up to that organizer or security person and confidently saying who you are with, who gave you permission to be there, and holding up that camera or sound equipment up like it means something. It does.

A lot of events don't have dress codes, or they're outside and you just have to dress for the weather. Regardless, being able to carry yourself up like you know what you're doing, (even if you don't), is an important professional--and life--skill.

You become the ultimate one-man-band.
Maybe the end career isn't even in journalism, but you'll come out on the other side a well-rounded writer who can do a little of everything. Knowing how to navigate social media, write HTML code, read court documents, scientific studies, and spreadsheets to decipher the story, and talk to people are all valuable life skills.

So when anyone tells you journalism is the worst major to choose and you'll be poor forever and blah, blah blah (well, maybe), you know what to tell them.

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5 Necessities to Survive Freshman Year

You're in the majors now.

In the summer months leading up to freshman year, 18 year olds everywhere are preparing for what's probably the biggest move in the lives so far: college. Between all of the Bed Bath & Beyond and Target runs, you'd think that you are ready to take on college, one Command strip at a time. But the generic college packing lists tend to leave out several items that you'll actually need - and never thought that you would.

1. Any and all types of animal ears: You're going to hit a ton of frat/dorm/house parties during your freshman year. These parties are going to vary by theme; thus, you'll want to make sure that you're prepared for any theme that comes your way. I cannot tell you how many times I have gone to a damn Safari themed party over my last three years of college. Having a pair of furry ears will come in handy. Trust.

2. Charging phone case: Nothing, and I mean nothing, (except maybe the herp), is worse than seeing your phone battery dying and knowing you're going to be out all night. There's a simple solution to this problem: a charging phone case. It's life. There's not the hassle in bringing your charger out with you; and your phone has double the battery life. Just remember to charge the case beforehand. If that's dead too, you'll be S.O.L. and send no snaps, none. You might as well not even go out.

#wifi#buffering #batterylow #fears #ourgeneration #followback #followbackteam #followforfollow #follow4follow #followmeback #followback

A photo posted by Quotes And Fun Facts ? (@fun.facts.quotes) on

3. Secret stash of ramen and Easy Mac: Make sure you have hidden some ramen and Easy Mac in your room. Your drunk self with thank the cheesy gods that your sober self hid some of the golden goodness for later. Don't leave yourself high and dry with no munchies. Ain't nobody got time for that.

4. Spare sock: How is this essential to your life? Well, your new-found freedom will eventually lead to you in bed with someone. This is one of the best parts of school - but make sure you tell your roommate so they don't walk in mid-hookup. Nobody wants to see all that. Work out a sexiled system, like a scrunchie or sock on the doorknob. It will definitely send a message that the room is occupado.

Someone is gettin it :p #sockondoor #hallwaysat2am #bowchickawowwow #tuesdaynight

A photo posted by Bree Hampton (@bree_and_the_chocolate_factory) on

5. Netflix account: There are many reasons to have a Netflix account, but the superior reason is so you can invite someone over to #netflixandchill. Since this is the 21st century, we seriously depend on technology to help us get ass.

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Why You Should Consider Creating Your Own Major

Embrace the freedom to study exactly what you want.

When I was asked to write a back to school post about my major, I was actually super fucking excited, but surprised that I had never thought of this myself. I'm going to be very open with the fact that while I'm not a bad student, I'm also not a great one.

School has never been my thing. However, the issue isn't a matter of not wanting to learn, but a matter of not wanting to learn about shit I didn't give a damn about.

In fact, I actually really love to learn. I spend my free time watching documentaries, reading biographies, and researching things that I find fascinating. But when it comes to the classes I'd taken and the options for majors when applying to college, I felt uninspired and bored. Nothing sparked my interest.

Going into college, I knew exactly what I wanted to do when I graduated, so picking a major should have been easy right? Wrong. I've always been extremely passionate about fashion and specifically fashion publications. I grew up on Vogue and fell in love with print media.

But there was no major for exactly what I wanted to do, which was to be a creative or fashion director.

While everyone suggested journalism, merchandising, and design to me - none of them felt right. I didn't want to write, do business, or design. I wanted to create visual imagery and print it for the world.

I settled for Apparel Merchandising at Indiana University and while it's truly an ah-mazing program, it wasn't for me at all. The classes didn't interest me and I felt like my parents were paying thousands of dollars for me to learn nothing that would help me in my future career.

That's when one of my friends told me about how she had known someone who graduated from IU with an individualized degree.

And that's when I discovered the Individualized Major Program (IMP), and things started to click.

The first thing I needed to do to get the ball rolling was find a sponsor, which without a doubt in my mind was going to be a professor I had had for a fashion business class.

We sat down and talked through my career goals, what I wanted to accomplish through this degree, and what I thought was the best way to go about it. From there I had to submit some paperwork, plan a curriculum, write an essay, and go through an interview process because they don't just let you make a major because you feel like making a major.

After a few months of work and interviews, I walked out of my admissions interview as a Fashion Editorial Arts major.

This is a major that lets me study art, fashion, journalism, culture, and design, and essentially gives me the tools to create a one-woman fashion publication. I love my classes, I feel more driven than ever before, my GPA has gone up, and I feel genuinely excited to be in school.

For me, creating my own major has been a monumental choice in my life, and something that I believe will really help in the real world.

For those of you who know what you want to do and don't seem to fit into any programs you see offered, I highly recommend finding a school that allows you to get into a program like this.

Here are a few schools that offer individualized major programs to help you out:

  • Indiana University - Bloomington, IN
  • James Madison University - Harrisonburg, VA
  • New York University - New York, NY
  • The University of Washington - Seattle, WA
  • CUNY - New York, NY
  • Hamilton College - Clinton, NY
  • University of Minnesota - St. Paul, MN
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What You Should Know About Being An English Major

It's more than just hipsters reading obscure novels.

When you tell people you're an English major, they automatically think you want to be the next Stephen King. They picture you as a typical hipster and assume you spend your free time reading obscure novels and writing poetry.

But for most of us, that's not the case. As an English major, you'll be pushing your brain to its limits and experiencing the classic college diagnoses of procrastination and disillusion.

Make no mistake, English is a great major, but you should be prepared before you dive in. Here's what to expect:

Writing classes.
There are two main types of English classes: writing and literature. The writing classes are basically group therapy. All those hipster associations about obscure novels and poetry are mostly true here. Some people are dead-set on writing their novel and will whine if they have to do anything else. Then there's the YA cult who, for some reason, loves to read books meant for 14-year-olds.

You'll be expected to write pieces that say something profound about humanity or the universe. If that's your thing, you'll fit right in. If it's not, good luck.

But most English majors will only take a few writing classes. Most of the English classes you'll take are...

Literature classes.
Do you like reading? Be prepared for that to change. You'll be wading through texts so dry you'll get dehydrated. You likely won't study the "fun" stuff. Instead, there's lots of social commentary, archaic satire, and slavery novels. Oh, and after you've read 125 pages in two days, you'll have to write a paper on it.

That said, if you can't stand boring literature but love to pour out your soul through the written word, then Creative Writing is probably the major you're looking for. Here in Englishland, it's mostly critical analysis and theory with a side of writing.

It's not as artsy as you think.
Sure, you might study some of the finest contemporary poetry, but most of the time, you're pretending you don't have a 10-page research paper on Victorian literature due.

You have to read for analysis, not for enjoyment.
As an English major, you can't read the assigned texts for enjoyment. You have to read them and be aware of the craft behind them. You have to recognize themes, study character motives, and put yourself in the author's shoes. If you read for enjoyment, you'll miss out on the big picture.

There's lots of freedom.
In most majors, you have to follow a set path (Chem I, Chem II, Organic Chem I...). With an English major, you can mostly take whatever you want, whenever you want. Want to take U.S. Literature and Poetry II in the same semester? Go ahead. The world is your oyster.

When it comes to gen eds, work smarter, not harder.
Even though you want to spend your time with your major, there will still be those pesky gen ed classes to get through. (Sadly, that does include math and science.)

Pro tip: See if you can take these non-major classes online. That's your best bet. For the ones you can't take online, aim for big lecture classes. The material is usually easier, and the attendance policies tend to be more lenient.

You'll learn skills you'll use for life.
Like Business Insider pointed out, as an English major, you'll learn how to think critically, write, and deal with people. Those are valuable skills that will always be in demand, and they'll also make you a more well-rounded person.

Personally, I find that being an English major has given me a particularly rewarding college experience. While it's strenuous at times, the payoff is great. Get ready for some of the best years of your life - welcome to the English major!

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How to Choose the Right Major for You

I found the right major and it changed my life.

Fall semester is finally here, and for many of you, it's time to pick your major.

Some students enroll with a strict outline of how their college experience is going to be, while others are shape shifting and drifting through it all aimlessly. I can definitely relate to the latter group.

After high school I had no intention of going back to school. I wandered around the U.S. via hitchhiking and bus and jumped from job to job. As much as I loved my Jack Kerouac-inspired life, I quickly learned that without a college degree, my chances of getting stuck in a dead end job I hated were pretty high.

So I trekked back to the East coast and enrolled in school without the faintest idea of what I was doing. I just knew that getting my degree was important.

Eventually I did find the major right for me and it changed my life. Here are a few lessons I learned along the way that just might help you out:

Don't stress.
There is so much weight involved with deciding your field of study. Some people might tell you that it's a decision that will affect the rest of your life and career goals, but that's not quite the case. Data from 2010 found by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York shows that only 27 percent of college grads end up working in a field related to their major. So don't stress yourself out too much.

Do what you love.

Realistically, there is a deadline for when you should declare your major, but don't just settle for whatever. I know it's hard but you have to figure out your strengths, your interests and what you are passionate about in x number of years, then decide on a major that caters to those things.

The classes you'll be required to take will be centered around your field of study, so why study marine biology if you hate fish? You will end up being miserable!

Plan accordingly.
While you're in the process of figuring this all out, get all your gen-ed requirements out of the way early on. You really don't want to waste time and money on a class that won't count for anything down the road. As an extra perk, it's going to be more enjoyable to save the classes you think you will really enjoy for closer to graduation. It's all smooth sailing from there!

Visit clubs.
Make it your mission to visit the club fair. Talk to representatives from each club and see if anything grabs your attention. For me, this was the deciding factor. In the beginning I thought I was going to be an artistic major of some kind. So I visited the life drawing club and even the anime club. Eventually I discovered the writing club and my life changed. I found myself surrounded by like-minded students and the energy was electric. I went on to be an active member and eventually the president of the club.

Picking your major can seem daunting, but remember: don't allow external influences to decide for you or convince you to take a "practical" route. As cheesy as it sounds try to follow your heart.