Up until college, taking the next step in life means moving from one grade to the next. It’s simple. You just have to pass.
While college can feel like just moving to another school or grade, universities generally want you to select a major, if not your freshmen year, then at least your sophomore year. The selection you make can seemingly change your whole life. Is that true?
No, not always.
You see, I studied something completely different than photography when I was in college. Being a photographer was not even on the radar when I was applying for my college education.
I think the most important thing that you can do if you’re unsure of what major to take is to just pick a job that you may potentially like and intern. They used to recommend internships to juniors and seniors in college only, but by then it’s way too late. Higher education is too expensive, and your time is too valuable. I once shadowed a choir director for 3 weeks because that’s what I thought I wanted to do, and I was going to get my Masters in choral directing. After shadowing my choral director, I knew without a shadow of a doubt that it wasn’t the right job for me. Had I not interned with her, I would have wasted tons of money and time just to discover I didn’t want the job in the first place.
Sometimes figuring out what you don’t want to do is just as important as figuring out what you want to do.
Lastly, if you’re unsure about your next step, going to work is a great option too. You can learn a lot by working and learning in the real world first. You can also do both work and school. Many of my friends have taken classes online, worked at the same time, and took care of their core fundamentals until they figured out exactly what field they wanted to go into. When they went back to school full-time, the were able to excel in their studies because they could already see the payout from learning the information well and applying it. Another way to do things is testing out of college classes with CLEP tests. The time and effort you put into studying for those tests can be worth up to $10,000 in college tuition or more. That’s real money that you can keep, and unlike scholarships, which rely on another person’s decision, you have the opportunity to control the financial outcome of your future. I know college students that have shaved off a year of college by taking CLEP tests.
If anybody gives you a hard time about not attending college right out of high school, they’re not being realistic about the current state of the education system. Bachelor degrees do not guarantee jobs anymore. It makes it easier, yes, but it’s not the only path. Your future and what job you get depends on your connections, reputation, resourcefulness, and passion. College helps in establishing those connections, and that’s probably one of the best reasons to attend a university. The network and the friends you’ll make in college is pretty great, but when it comes to decisions that affect how long you’re going to be in debt for the next 10-20 years, just be smart about how you approach higher education.