A Major Decision (Part 1)

Published Thursday, February 24, 2011 by Tarang

You know you’re going to college when you start feeling like every decision you make is life changing. Looking back, I realize how much small decisions matter and how sometimes very large decisions end up shaping the course of my life. One decision which all high school students think about is what their major will be in college. Even if they don’t think about this exactly, they definitely ponder over its many variants. What subjects do I like to study? Do I want to make a career out of this? Can I keep learning about this in college?

Well, choosing a major is no easy task and even once you get to college, it can be difficult to decide upon one major. One TV show which actually gave me some good insight into the “major dilemma” was Greek. Greek features an ensemble cast of college going characters who all attend the fictional CRU or Cyprus Rhodes University (which is always sunny but it’s in Ohio). All of the characters are part of the Greek system (fraternities and sororities), but many episodes of the show are dedicated to “the major dilemma” and other academic endeavors of the cast.

Here are some characters that illuminate the various major choices available in college and the problems one might face.

Casey: She starts off as pre-law and political science. She later questions herself because she chose this major due to her ex-boyfriend, Evan, and now does not want to be influenced by him. She represents people who question whether they chose their major themselves or someone else pressured them (parents, friends, etc.) In the end, she chooses to continue to be in her major after doing an internship for a Congresswoman. She ends up loving the field she chose and ultimately goes to CRU Law School. She was able to figure out what she wanted by gaining some real world experience (something all high school students and college students should do).

Casey (front) and Evan (back right) in law school.

Rusty: He is clear about what he wants do which is Polymer Science (this major is also known by other names such as Material Science and is often found under the Engineering department). He questions his choice of major only once when he feels that he may not have enough passion for it. Like any smart fellow, he seeks the help of his college advisor. This is another important step in choosing a major. I spoke to my advisor twice before deciding on my major. He also does research work in his major and finds that he does have passion for it; he just had to find which aspects of polymers interest him.

Ashleigh: She’s the typical people’s person and correctly chooses her major to be marketing. She intelligently plays to her strengths in choosing a major. She then gets disillusioned when she is unable to find paid work after graduation, but like any true college student, she uses her connections with her favorite professor to get a job. She represents the student who has a hard time in the current economy, but she has faith in the major she chose. Plus maintaining contacts with professors is always important. The other aspect of college life that Ashleigh portrays is how important interview skills and marketing yourself are. Ashleigh secures her first unpaid but prestigious internship by being persistent and giving a great interview.

Cappie: He is the stereotypical undecided major. He has an aptitude for psychology as developed in the show, but he is scared to commit to a major because he is afraid it will limit what he wants to do in the future. He dreams of many different career paths and does not want to choose a major. However, he is ultimately convinced that his major does not have to limit his choices in life. I know tons of people who got jobs completely unrelated to their major.

Catherine: She is the opposite stereotype as Cappie. She’s the girl who knows exactly what she wants and how to get it. She is what we call a “Planner.” She has mapped out her road since the beginning of college. She is pre-law and business and ultimately goes for a JD/MBA dual degree so she will basically be a lawyer-businesswoman CEO know-it-all. She represents how effective good planning can be. She works hard to get good grades and supplements her school work with meaningful leadership and extracurricular activities.

Hopefully, these characters have given you some nuggets of wisdom. Check in next time to see how I made my major decision.


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