From Celine Chen
A panel on the relationship between your major and future career.
Last semester I attended an event hosted by the Career and Professional Development (CPD) office that tackled the question of “does your major define your career?” As a homage to Bryn Mawr’s Harry-Potter-like atmosphere the event was titled “Does your Hogwarts House Define your Career?” The event was full of fun snacks like butterbeer, Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans, jelly slugs, and cupcakes for each house. Theme aside, I found the event really eye-opening and relevant, even as a senior.
The student panelists had very candid and thoughtful responses to the questions asked at the event
Should your major be practical or something you’re passionate about?
There’s no easy answer to this question. Some people might find that they value the stability of choosing a “practical” major over a passion, or vice versa. While Bryn Mawr supports students pursuing their passions, the choice is ultimately up to you. Regardless of which path you choose, the panelists brought up the importance of transferrable skills (like leadership, communication, and teamwork) which are all helpful in every career and that can be learned from a variety of majors. Not only that, but if you truly have a hard time deciding on a major, you can always pursue more than one program of study – one that’s“practical” field and one you truly enjoy.
Emma Wu ’18 advised, “A minor isn’t useless after you graduate. You can ‘minor’ in life.” In other words, you may end up pursuing a career in your minor, or you combine aspects of your major and your minor in your future career. It’s really more about the skills you gain.
When should you start exploring different major options?
According to the panelists, as soon as you can! Don’t feel as though you aren’t ready for intro major classes because you didn’t experience them in high school. The best way to feel out different options is to jump right into the content. If it turns out the major is not a good fit, that’s still a valuable experience in finding your way to the right major. Also, don’t be afraid to get your college-wide requirements out of the way early on in your college career. If you think you are going to be a STEM major and don’t plan on exploring humanities, you should still consider taking courses outside your comfort zone (if it really doesn’t interest you, at least you tried, and you may have fulfilled a college-wide requirement while at it!)
Most people will change majors, and ultimately careers, and that’s okay. At the end of the day, what’s important is how you market the skills and experience you have, to make you an attractive candidate for the next step in your career. In other words, no matter your Hogwarts house, you can succeed in many careers. Employers are looking for a variety of employees that can bring different strengths and skills to create a well-rounded work environment. Whether it’s the thoughtful and caring nature of a Hufflepuff or the bravery and creativity of a Gryffindor.