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The Greyhound

The Greyhound

The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

The Greyhound

What Are We Focusing On?


College comes full of excitement. You’re away from home, you live with friends, each day you experience a new level of freedom, and everything feels new. It also means that people start pushing you to make choices—and specifically one of the biggest ones is what to major in. It’s one of the most-asked questions about college apart from “Where do you go?” It’s the question everyone wants to know the answer to.

“What are you studying?”

“What do you want to do with that?”

“Have you thought about what that degree means?”

The pressure surrounding this question is enormous. It doesn’t really seem to be a question about your college, but rather a question about the rest of your life. The question implies now that you have gotten through high school, your future should be set in stone. Not only should it be set in stone, but it should be socially acceptable.

You see, there is a reason some of us grind our teeth when family or friends ask us about our major, and it isn’t because we have not chosen one. It is because we feel judged for the field we have chosen to dedicate ourselves to. Society has built choosing a major into choosing a job which will allow you to be successful—successful of course being something which will allow you to make a good amount of money.

What happens then when someone asks what your major is, and you say art? Or maybe English? History? Do you see the confused look on their faces? Can you just make out the question in their mouths of, “What do you expect to do with that? How are you going to make money as a history major?” That’s the focus that has become tied to a conversation on a major. It isn’t a question of how or why you picked the major or about what drew you to that field of study. It all comes down to a question of whether or not that major will allow you to be successful in society’s eyes.

Is that what we should be focusing on? Making the most money? When picking our majors, should we be consulting a list of top-grossing jobs and scrolling through the top ten until we see something that catches our eye?

Picking something to dedicate the rest of our lives to should not be a question of money. Society has taken something that should be personal and based solely on oneself and transformed it into a materialistic question of how much money we can get out of it. When picking a major, it shouldn’t be a matter of how much this job would make. It should be a question of knowing yourself, being able to identify what you are passionate about, and being comfortable with that enough to spend your life exploring it. A monetary focus does not leave a lot of room for the person.

In order to allow people to find their own major and to allow them to grow into more complete people, the attitude regarding majors needs to change. The question for people deciding on their majors should not be, “What job do you want?” The question should be, “What do you like to learn about?” Declaring a major is not meant to be a process of making the most money possible. Declaring a major should be a process of exploring what you are passionate about—about finding your “why” in all of society.

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What Are We Focusing On?