Does my major matter?

Does your major matter? According to the Associate Dean for STEP and Career and Life Planning Grace Champion, it doesn’t. At least not as much as many people think. Champion says students often tend to think of their major as a track they are locked into which will direct them down a specific career path, but this is not the case. 

Champion discussed this topic in a career workshop: “Does My Major Matter?” The workshop was hosted in the Burton Center for Student Success at 3 p.m. on Jan., 19. 

 “I like to think of a major as a lens through which you see the world,” Champion said. “I’m putting on a pair of glasses through which to see the world and gain a specific skill set, but I can do many things with that pair of glasses on. You can change your mind at any point in time and pursue a different path.”

In fact, Champion said that most people do change their minds. A lot. 

“If you are selecting a career at this moment in time as an undergraduate, you’re most likely not deciding the career from which you will retire, you’re just deciding what you’re going to do next,” Champion said.

This is because people change their careers, on average, five to seven times in their lifetime, allowing plenty of space for exploring new passions and traveling different paths. In her workshop Champion emphasized that while your degree can help guide your way down these paths, your options are not limited by what you study in undergrad.

Majors do not transfer to careers one to one. There are many more career options than there are college majors. In fact, Champion estimated that there are approximately 12,000 career options in the U.S., while there are only about 1,800 college majors.

While a Bachelor’s degree is becoming a more standard requirement to enter the workforce, Champion said that this discrepancy between majors and careers means that the major itself matters little in comparison to the valuable skills you develop along the way. 

“In a major you’re cultivating a set of skills, and no matter what your field of study is, you’re going to develop critical thinking skills, writing skills, speaking skills, and teamwork skills here at Lees-McRae,” Champion said. “Here you’re going to be able to learn new things, problem solve, and work with other people, which is what really matters when starting a career.”

You will likely put on and take off many different lenses throughout your life depending on your job at the time, but these skills, along with experience and networking, are what future employers truly value.

“Experience is important, whether that be at a part-time job, an internship, engagement on campus, research, or volunteering,” Champion said. “That’s what’s going to matter to a future employer much more than what your college major is.”

Real-world experiences, and the skills gained from them, can be applied to virtually any career path, and Champion encourages students who are second guessing their major or field to begin thinking about transferable skills which can be applied to their other interests.

Your education at Lees-McRae is designed to prepare you for the world, no matter your major.

By Maya JarrellJanuary 27, 2022
Campus Life