Your college major matters. The internet has been abuzz with content related to this finding, which was the subject of a recently released Georgetown study. According to the study, your college major plays a huge part in determining your career path and salary potential. Meaning, when it comes time to declare your major, you better pick a good one—because your entire future’s at stake, kid.
Does this seem unfair to anyone else? When I declared my college major—Spanish, which is decidedly on the low, low end of the salary spectrum—I was only 20 years old. Here are the things that were important to me at age 20:
1. Making mix tapes for my boyfriend (which involved finding the saddest of all Cure songs)
2. Figuring out which parties had free beer
3. Choosing classes that didn’t require me to wake up before 10am
Here are the things that were not important to me at age 20:
1. My maximum earnings potential
2. The 40 hour work week
3. Whether or not my future middle-aged self would be professionally fulfilled
See what I’m getting at here? While it may be true that your college major matters, maybe it shouldn’t matter so much. Maybe if we were able to carve out our career paths as adults, the number of Americans satisfied with their work would be higher than 45%.
But how do grownups decide what they want to be when they grow up? Admittedly, I am still not 100% sure. But one of the websites I work on, Schools.com, recently came out with this cool app called the Pathfinder that helped me—and was pretty entertaining, to boot. Here’s how it works: You answer a series of questions that really appeal to the things that are important to you–things that you might be able to answer more definitively now that you’re not 20. What is the most rewarding thing you can imagine right now? If you could make money doing one thing what would it be? If you have a choice to watch your favorite TV show, what do you watch? Which personal activities do you prefer to devote your time to? Then, the Pathfinder matches you with well-suited career options.
I was nervous to take it at first, because the last time I took a career assessment test, my top two suggested career paths were circus clown and clergy member. No joke. Luckily, the Pathfinder is more realistic about the career recommendations it makes; miraculously, it matched me with the career that I currently have.
Check it out for yourself. If nothing else, it’s fun to have a computer tell you what you should be when you grow up. And if, like me, you were so busy analyzing lyrics to sad Cure songs that you neglected to declare the major that would ensure your future career happiness—well, now you have the chance to make up for it.