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Picking a Major

Posted by on Friday, November 11, 2016 in Academics, General Information, Jobs, Vanderbilt Internships.

I finally declared my major! But wow, picking a major is stressful- there’s a lot of pressure to make the right choice. What’s even more frustrating is when you finally figure it out only to be faced with the inevitable question of “What kind of job can you get with that major?” from you parents. While it’s easy for doubt to make you feel like you’ve taken two steps back in figuring out your life plan, Vanderbilt is great about helping you pick your major and answer this question! I came into Vanderbilt as a Medicine, Health, and Society major who briefly entertained the PreMed track. However, once I began taking classes at Vandy, I quickly realized that there was another side to working in medicine that wasn’t being a doctor, and I decided that this part was for me. Being physicians, both of my parents struggled to understand the types of jobs I could get with the majors of MHS and Sociology without attending med school. Thankfully, Vanderbilt has had my back when it comes to defending my majors (and career choices!) to my parents!

Right now, my plan is go into Health Policy and Consulting, but I didn’t come to this conclusion overnight. It took lots of soul-searching, meetings with advisers and the career center, and visits to interest meetings. One of the best things about Vanderbilt is how willing the faculty is to help you. Over the summer, before I had declared my major and when I had my I-don’t-know-what-I-want-to-do-in-life crisis, I reached out to the PreLaw Adviser, PreBusiness Adviser, and the MHS Adviser, all of whom promptly responded to my emails with loads of advice, phone conversations, and encouragement to come by their offices in the fall to continue our conversations. They helped me sort out my exact academic interests and pointed me in the right direction, even over the summer. My next step was meeting with the career center, which I found extremely helpful. The people there are so excited to help you and are great at pinpointing exactly what types of jobs could be compatible with your personality and interests. I went in clueless and came out with a list of organizations and job positions to investigate, feeling much more confident in my choices. Another cool thing about the career center is that they keep data about where all the current Vanderbilt students and alum with your major have interned and found jobs, giving you a direct idea of what you can accomplish with the major you choose – this was especially useful to show my parents!

Most importantly, don’t let anyone discourage you if you are still deciding on the majors or careers that interest you. It’s so easy to feel intimidated by that one girl in your class that has it all figured out, but honestly you’re not supposed to know everything yet! There’s still so much time, even as a sophomore or junior, to switch into a major or field that will make you happy for the rest of your life. Also, it’s important to explore different

Exploring new interests through AXLE classes! Photo courtesy of Vanderbilt Flickr

classes (which is a great thing about AXLE at Vanderbilt) that could expose you to things you never thought you’d be interested in. I took my First Year Writing Seminar in the Sociology Department, loved it, and decide to pick Sociology as my second major! Have no fear, you will definitely find a major you love, especially with all the help Vandy offers!

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