Column: The struggle declaring a major and who is here to help
There are endless factors surrounding which major a student will select. Student interests fluctuate over time and it is common that career paths and initial visions will change. There is even a stigma surrounding how useful certain majors are.
Naturally, students choose a major relative to their desired career path. Many students find themselves floating through general education requirements with undeclared majors. However, due to the flood of possibilities and personal doubts, the choice is usually between an enjoyable major versus a major that is perceived to guarantee employment following graduation.
Humanities and social sciences often fall under the stigma of less useful majors when seeking job opportunities after graduation.
Last week I sat down with Chair of the English Department of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences Dr. Andrew Geyer, to discuss these stigmas and what students should consider when declaring a major.
I asked what Geyer would say to students under the impression that a degree in humanities is not as useful in the job market as a science, engineering, or business degree would be. He responded that surveys from employers are seeking graduates with writing and critical thinking ability, which are all taught in english classes at USC Aiken.
“I feel the idea that an english degree or a humanities degree is going to be a disadvantage in the job market is a misnomer, and the people doing the hiring wouldn’t agree,” he said.
As an english major, this was encouraging news. Critical thinking ability is being sought by employers and we have liberal arts education to thank. Later in the interview, I asked if Geyer would encourage students to contact professors in departments they are potentially interested in majoring in, to set up an appointment to discuss their interests or concerns. He enthusiastically advocated the idea.
“Absolutely, especially advisers and unit-heads. One of the things that I do is a lot of advising. That’s my chance to positively impact and help people figure out what they want to do with themselves and then try to help them achieve those goals in their coursework here at USCA.”
If declaring a major has been a struggle due to stigmas surrounding certain majors or general indecisiveness, students at USCA have access to multiple sources for help with their decision. Advisers, career fairs, panels, ICE events and literature regarding majors and career fields can be found in the office of each department on campus.
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