Relax, Your College Major Will Not Determine Your Future

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Ten years ago, a lot of college students probably weren’t thinking they’d develop mobile apps for a living.

Agonizing over your college major? Nearing graduation and thinking you’ll never land a job with an arts degree?

Well, you can stop worrying, because according to a study from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, only 27.3% of college graduates have a job related to their undergraduate major.

And if you think about it, it’s no surprise that this is true.

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Technological Advancements

Technology has dramatically changed every aspect of life, and it continues to do so at a rapid pace. This is the core issue with the 4-year college degree: what you learn today may not be applicable tomorrow.

Ask any 30-something-year-old if what they learned in college is applicable to what they do today, and most won’t give an enthusiastic “yes.” The very fundamentals of just about every industry today look nothing like they did 10 years ago. Heck, some careers that existed 10 years ago are not even relevant today.

So, instead of focusing on your major and what you are learning today, commit to learning new skills and staying on top of innovations. With that attitude, you won’t fall behind on the times or fall out of touch with the needs of your industry.

Learn On Your Own

If you want to beat the odds and join the small club of people who do end up working in fields related to their major, start learning the skills you’ll need for that job while you are in college.

College courses may help you do this, but you can’t always depend on them to teach you marketable skills. Luckily, there is nothing you can’t learn from the Internet! Leverage free content platforms such as YouTube, Khan Academy, Coursera, Wikipedia, and others to learn real skills from real people who are experts in the industry.

Don’t know where to start? Research the jobs you’re interested in, check out the skills they require, and try to learn those outside of class. For example, do most jobs in your field require knowledge of a specific software platform? Learn that software!

Another Way To Look At This

The major you choose today isn’t going to limit what you can do tomorrow. Just because only 27.3% of people work in a field related to their college major doesn’t mean the other 72.7% are unemployed!

You may find something else that you enjoy more than your current major and pursue that instead, or you may find that you are actually talented in a field that you didn’t about learn until after college. The key is to have an insatiable desire to learn, be opportunistic, and work hard at whatever it is you do.

If you do that, you’ll find yourself doing the things that you love—even if it wasn’t what you originally planned.

Are you struggling with your major? Wondering what you could be doing today to get a job after college? Share your stories! 

(Photo: Jason A. Howie)

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  1. Sasha March 24, 2014 / 11:14 am

    Great piece!

  2. Erica May 22, 2014 / 3:20 pm

    Thanks that was pretty helpful. I was obsessing over my major, now I can stop.

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