How often has someone questioned you about your major? How many times has someone asked you how you plan to use your major or why you chose it to begin with? Has anyone ever blatantly asked you how you plan to be successful because in their eyes, you have no possible career path based on your studies?
Now, I’m in CSOM, so I rarely get questioned on my career plans (and thank goodness for that because I’m just a freshman and have absolutely no idea what I’m doing). However, I do often find people questioning how I ended up in the business school. I kid you not, I constantly get the, “Really, you’re in CSOM? I would have thought you were Lynch or Arts and Science. You’re not professional enough, and you’re kind of an oddball.”
First off, never judge a book by it’s cover, anyone can do the unexpected. Secondly, who are they to tell me what I can or cannot do or be. If I think I want to be an investment banker, let me explore that option. Maybe I’ll find out corporate law is my place and passion, but let’s be honest here, since when did I have to come into to an academic setting with absolutely no real experience and a set job in mind.
It’s unreasonable. If you’re a freshman like me and you tell me you’re going to be an accountant all the power to you, super proud you’ve got more direction than I do. But let’s revisit in four years to see if you’ve changed your major or added a minor. Nothing has to be set in stone. Do not stick to some path just because you came in saying that was what you were going to do. Do what makes you happy because it will determine what you do five out of the seven days of the week for the rest of your life.
Furthermore, while I haven’t experienced people blatantly questioning the legitimacy of my major and my possible career paths based off my studies, I’ve witnessed it happen first hand. I was working concessions with a friend to raise money for a club we both partake in, and our supervisor began questioning us on what we were actually doing at college.
Everything was going well up to this point. I gave my regular BS answer about how I wanted to go into investment banking (ha I don’t really know what I’m doing yet, but people eat it up if you’re a girl and you say you want to work for the banks). Then we reached my friend. She’s a senior, so she’s taken enough courses to know what she wants to do and while she might not have everything figured out she’ll be getting a diploma this spring for environmental studies with a concentration in political science.
She tells our boss for the night what she’s decided to major in, and her first reaction is “Don’t get me wrong, but isn’t that like an easier major? Is it even a major to really begin with?” My friend explains that her major focuses equally on natural and social science classes, and that this semester she was in fact taking some very difficult law classes. However, our superior still can’t quite grasp my friend’s major. She fires back, “My daughter’s friend is majoring in some environmental thing to become a camp counselor, what are you going to do?”
At this my friend replied that she planned to work four years doing ecotourism jobs across the world before finally returning to school for a law degree. This still did not please our boss of the night, so my friend ended up quieting down, putting up with her comments, and just going back to work as it was clear our boss’s opinions could not be swayed.
Now here’s the funny thing. My friend with the environmental studies major with a concentration in political science has more options for diverse jobs than anyone with a business major. She could work for a non-profit, do some sort of law with that law degree she plans on getting, work for a consulting firm, get into politics and change environmental policies, she could keep up with her ecotourism jobs; essentially she can explore countless options in varying industries.
No major is easy, and it’s important to note that whatever you’ve chosen study is important. Every major is complicated in its own way and there is not necessarily an “easy” major to begin with, so struggling is fine and everything will eventually work out. Furthermore, most majors have unexpected job opportunities, so never assume how successful someone may end up being based on their major title. Finally, we go to Boston College, one of the top universities in the United States, as far as I’m concerned, everyone here is already wildly successful based on the fact that we go to school here. So remember when you’re questioning why you’re doing what you’re doing, you’ve already made it in some sense, and that everything will work out in the end.