This is a Q&A with our Intern Queen Campus Ambassador from University of Wisconsin-Madison, Jackie.
As a high school senior, I thought I wanted to go into science. I had seen almost every episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. My mind was completely set - I wanted to be a forensic scientist. I wanted to solve mysteries. Heck, I had even created a fake detective agency as a child. I thought it was perfect.
When I got accepted to my dream school, the University of Wisconsin - Madison, I had to choose a different major (my school doesn&t offer forensic science as a major), so I landed on Medical Microbiology and Immunology. Umm, excuse me, but WHAT? I don&t even know what that means. It definitely doesn&t sound as cool as CSI.
I took general chemistry - one of the prerequisites for the MMI major - in the fall of 2009. I could not stand it. All of my free time was spent studying for it, and I even considered dropping out at one point because of all the stress. Then I realized - I shouldn&t HATE what I&m going to be doing for the rest of my life. I have since switched to a Spanish and Journalism: Strategic Communication double major, and couldn&t be happier.
Here are my suggestions for finding your dream major(s)!
1. Analyze your personality
This can be done in a number of ways:
a) reflect on yourself
b) ask others to describe you
c)take a personality inventory like the Keirsey Temperament Sorter or the Meyers-Briggs Type Indicator. These may seem monotonous and boring but they are a great way to assess your characteristics. There are websites that match your personality types with likely careers, as well.
2. Find your interests
It may sound cliche, but join clubs! Going to a student org fair lets you see how many unique clubs exist at your school. Join ones that sound interesting to you, even if you don&t have much background in the area! For instance, I signed up for a hip-hop dance org even though I had never taken a dance class in my life - now I attend a hip-hop workout class from time to time, and quite enjoy popping, locking and dropping.
3. Listen to others& advice & don&t contradict your personality
My dad always told me, "Jackie, you&re too social to work in a lab," but I kind of brushed it off. Now I see - that bit of advice was crucial in my choice of majors. If you love to talk and interact with people, don&t do something that contradicts that! If you get a warm, fuzzy feeling by helping people, consider a career in which you help people every day! Follow your personality - it&s one thing that won&t misguide you.
After you&ve done these things, look into CAREER PATHS rather than majors. Figure out first what you want to do, and then find a major that fits it.