Own It

Ss, how many of you (advisors) have been confronted with the following scenario?

Student: I’m thinking about a minor and want to talk about it

You: OK, what minor and why?

S: well, I really love fitness, so I’m thinking of minoring in.

You: Why not as a major, then?

S: Well I was talking to a friend and he said the major is really hard…

If you have been part of this exchange, what was your response? My first inclination is to shout at them and say, “Shut out the noise!”  Then I calm down.

Students, you need to own your decision and do so by finding your own true meaning in your life/college career. Don’t listen to anyone’s cautionary tales about what major will get you the best job. The truth is, you will be the only one responsible for finding a job. Yes, you’ll take what you learn here and use it to your advantage, but work experience and internships play as much of a role in your quest for employment as your college major plays. And yes, every job requires a certain kind of degree and sometimes in very specific fields, but you mustn’t confuse your college education for job training.

Neither should you forsake the fact that many employees are seeking “soft skills” or “transferable skills” that are best learned in humanities based majors. Transferable skills, as they’re frequently referred to, include verbal and written communication, critical thinking, problem-solving skills, and the ability to function on a team. A colleague of mine wrote a really good piece on this a while back.


In short, my personal belief is that you need to own the discipline with which you have affinity. Don’t treat your desired field as a secondary interest–declare it, excel at it, and you will find work. If you choose your alternative plan from the start, you’ve given up too soon. You will miss 100% of the pitches at which you do not swing.


About Art

I'm the Director of Academic Advising at Quincy College. I'm hoping this can be a place to express the occasional thought that may mean something to someone. . .we'll see. I'm also a musician--I play the string bass in primarily the jazz and classical idioms (though I love many kinds of music and have played everything from folk and bluegrass to new wave and hard rock). And, as an Italian-American, I love good food and good wine. . .basically,don't be surprised by posts on any of the topics mentioned above ;)
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