picking a college major.

So for this post, I’m interested in breaking down the process of choosing a major in college. As someone who’s been struggling with finding the right field, I hope this will help those of you just entering college who still don’t know what you want to do.

To be honest, I should have been more proactive in high school. I didn’t know where I wanted to go to school or what I wanted to major in…until it was time to begin the application process and I was forced to start choosing places. The universities I chose to apply to, I may have well just picked them out of a hat because I had no clue! I ended up applying to three local universities that were close to home and I got into my “top choice.” I had declared English as my major simply because I loved writing and considered myself a fairly experienced writer since I did well in my English classes and was a staff writer/reporter for my school newspaper.

After my first semester of college, I decided to change my major to film. In high school, I loved putting together music videos with my friends and I loved working with cameras and editing. I took my first Film/TV Production class the following fall term and I’ll admit, it was overwhelming at first. But by the end of the class, I had made new friends who were also in that major and I had learned how the different positions of a TV studio work.

After that semester, things got a little dry, and by that I mean, I took the film history classes and the electronic media classes that are more lecture than hands-on. I was beginning to question if I was in the “right” major or not. I began to lose motivation and confidence, but one of my friends told me to stick it out because the film industry is very broad and there are many different options you can go into with that degree.

At the beginning of this school year (now a third-year student), I saw an educational counselor to get an opinion on what I should I do. She basically said that if I wanted to change majors, I needed to do it now because after you pass a certain number of units, you are locked in that major and can’t switch. They want students to get in and get out. That didn’t help, so I ended up staying with my major.

On top of that, I declared a minor. A minor is not required for my major but A) It looks better to have those two degrees and B) It’ll be a good thing to fall back on if film doesn’t work out for me…or I can marry the two and form my own independent company. Who knows?

To this very day, I am still unsure about whether film is the right field for me. But now I am starting to get into field-specific classes like film management, the business of film, audio production, etc. I hope to take a screenwriting class next semester. Hopefully I’ll begin to figure out what it is I want to do.

Now that I am a little older and a little more mature, I am beginning to be a lot more proactive than I was in high school. I’ve even calculated what it’ll take to get me out of school on time (Not that I don’t want to leave just yet because I actually like college). At my university, they make it practically impossible to graduate within 4 years because students can’t get their classes and there are budget cuts left and right. The likelihood of my graduating by next spring is still pretty slim because that’s only IF I can take summer school and get ALL the classes I need for the next two terms. It’s a huge “What If” game.

So if you’re out there and you feel completely lost, whether you’re in high school or college, don’t stress. You WILL find what works best for you. Sometimes you just need to give it time. Don’t rush into things so quickly like I did. Slow down, breathe, and see what your strengths are. What are you PASSIONATE about? What can you see yourself doing for the rest of your life? I know what it feels like to “fall behind” the rest of the pack. It’s hard to watch your friends move ahead of you, who have everything planned out. Just remember to run your own race. I have to keep telling myself that because I have a bad habit of comparing myself to others, especially when it seems like they have it so much easier than me. But I know, everyone has their own battle they’re fighting. So stay in faith, don’t lose hope, and be PROACTIVE.



7 thoughts on “picking a college major.

  1. indirose12 says:

    I really enjoy your post! I am a second semester freshman in college right now, and I have no clue what I want to do. I have taken so many classes in a lot of different areas. I feel as if I am more confused about what I want my major to be than I was when I started. Everyone around me already knows what they want to do, and they are already working towards their future. Sometimes it can be a little discouraging when people ask me what I am going to college for, and i cannot tell them. I just have to remember to keep my head up and not compare myself to everyone around me.

    • beautifuldarkmystery says:

      This all sounds too familiar because I was in the SAME situation as you, and to be honest, I’m still kind of lost and I’m a junior. However, I feel like this semester is going to be pivotal in terms of figuring out what I want to do, or at least that’s what I’m hoping. But you’ve got the right attitude. Don’t get discouraged and just relax. You will eventually find your way, even if it takes longer than others.

      Sometimes it’s not always best to have your future planned out. I had a friend who applied to UCLA and it was his dream school. He thought he had it all figured out and then he didn’t get in and was super disappointed. I don’t blame him. But that showed me that sometimes having an exact plan isn’t the best idea either because the truth is, you’ll be even more disappointed when it doesn’t work out. Just go with the flow, find your strengths, and you’re good to go. Most importantly, don’t give up. 🙂 Thank you for your thoughts!


  2. atmzeal says:

    interesting, you give good advice. i think it’s pretty universal when people have no clue what they’re going to do inside or out, and after college. i’d have to agree that for media-related fields, a broad degree has its place. but my question would be, what do you enjoy more? On-set Production or pre/pro/office? if it’s specifically the film industry, low or big budget?

    • beautifuldarkmystery says:

      That’s what I’m still trying to figure out. I’m taking classes on both sides right now…I’m taking a film and TV management class, as well as a business of film class…but then I’m taking Intermediate sound production and hopefully will be taking intermediate film & tv production next semester. There are aspects about both that I really enjoy, I’m just not sure exactly what I want to do yet. And if I were to go to the production side of things, I would definitely work low-budget, despite the fact that indies are beginning to “disappear”.

      – beautifuldarkmystery

      • atmzeal says:

        indies aren’t going anywhere. there’ll always be film school students making their way up towards hollywood on the indie festival circuit. it’s the proving grounds, where oftentimes movies like Beasts of the Southern Wild will be picked up from festival to nation-wide release. not to mention, most people with union work in the industry only get there after struggling through indie films. web series, advertisements, promos, pilots, there’s plenty of work to go around. it’s a different world which most people don’t realize until they’ve tried it. if you do end up liking it, for example, it’s not abnormal to see people work for 2 full years as a PA on sets before they move up (which doesn’t pay well). that’s why i would suggest trying to get on to full professional sets (where people get paid day rates) to see if you like it while you’re still at school. it’ll pay off to start early if you choose the PA route -_____- . It’ll also help you narrow down other areas to explore sooner if you find yourself hating the experience.

      • beautifuldarkmystery says:

        I’m assuming you’ve been through this since you seem to know what you’re talking about. Right now, I’m starting small…I’m volunteering at the film festival that happens in the area and hopefully by next semester I’ll be more involved in productions. I realize that indies aren’t going anywhere, but it doesn’t hurt to try…I mean, you have to start somewhere. Believe me, I’ve gotten the lecture about how this industry doesn’t pay well and you really have to work your way up years and years until you actually start making money. Thank you for your advice…definitely gives me more to think about, but it’s always great to receive input from the more “experienced.”


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