by Olivia Aragon

Choosing a major can be stressful. There are so many factors that go into the process, and as a result there is no “universal way” to choose a major. Hopefully, me sharing the story of how I chose my major will help you figure out how you should choose yours. 

Research Major Options 

It was the fall of 2020, my senior year of high school. I had no idea what college I wanted to go to. I felt overwhelmed with not being able to visit colleges, and had no real idea of how to navigate the college application process. All I knew was I wanted to possibly go to law school – and I had an interest in history and politics – so I began to consider a degree in political science.

As my senior year continued, I researched information about law school to see if I really wanted to continue that path after college. Pretty much every law school story was the same: It was going to be hard, and not just “normal academic hard” – so hard, in fact, that many drop out of law school in the first year. The question plagued my mind: “What if I got to law school and realized law school was not for me?” I started to consider backup plans. 

I looked up what I could do with a political science degree. The answers were less than satisfying to my interests. I considered the possibility of majoring in psychology and journalism for a fleeting moment, but concluded that these majors were not for me either. 

Students work in the library

Consider College Offerings 

I began my search for a new major. At this point in my college process, I had narrowed down my options to three universities in the Pacific Northwest, and that included George Fox. I knew that whatever I chose needed to be available at those three universities. I also knew that whatever I majored in could not be STEAM or STEM aligned, as I knew that I had very little enjoyment of mathematics or the sciences. 

It was then that I stumbled upon the communication major. I didn’t really understand what “communication” meant. It seems self-explanatory – the study of communication – but what did you even do with a communication degree? What were the kinds of classes that I would take? Would I have to take any math classes? (Yes, this was a real concern; I hate math). One by one I answered every one of these questions. 

Evaluate Career Outcomes 

First, I asked the question, “What could I even do with a communication degree?” It turns out, a lot. Much like a business degree, a wide variety of jobs await you post college. One of them is in the arena of public relations. This field immediately intrigued me; it seemed like something I would enjoy. I learned it was a fast-growing career field, so getting a job after graduation would not pose as too much of a problem. 

Students talk to a professional at the career fair

Explore Classes and Prerequisites 

Second, I had to answer the question, “What kind of classes would I take?” It turns out I would take some in writing (something I knew I would enjoy) and some on the study of persuasion and argumentation – classes I knew I’d like because I did speech and debate in high school. I’d also take classes on social media and the psychology of how humans interact not just on a person-to-person level, but how gender, race and culture all affect the different forms of how people communicate with one another.

What I realized is that the communication major is this wonderful mix of writing, psychology and marketing. And I would not have to take any math classes! It seemed perfect for me. Not only would I take classes that interest me, here was a major that had a direct career field. This could be my backup plan. What I could not predict was that this backup plan would soon become plan A. 

Declare a Major 

I eventually chose my college, George Fox University, which offers three communication concentrations within the major: organizational communication, human communication, and public relations. Obviously, I chose public relations since the career outcomes and job market seemed the most exciting. 

Now, I am a junior majoring in communication with a concentration in public relations while also minoring in politics. And I can safely say that I chose the right major. I absolutely love communication and sometimes find myself thinking about how weirdly perfect this major has been for me. I also spend a lot of time trying to convince my friends to switch majors and become a communication major with me. I’ve convinced one so far.

Communication does not only have a practical application to different types of work fields but also has applications to everyday life because, much like psychology, you learn about why people interact the way they do and how it affects their ways of communicating. 

I’ve now decided I most likely won’t go to law school because of my experience of taking communication classes. I've decided that working in public relations is what I want to do. 

Obviously, there is not a perfect major that works perfectly for everyone. You have to discover what your interests are and what kind of job you may want to pursue after college. With that said, though, I do believe that the closest thing to a perfect major for everyone is communication. So, if you’re reading this and you do not know what you want to major in, I suggest giving communication a try. 

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