Throughout life, students prepare for the moment where they transition from adolescence to adulthood. By junior year of high school, students can almost taste freedom on the tip of their tongues. However, with adulthood comes major decisions. One of those decisions is what to major in during college.
During junior year of high school, many are preparing and taking SATs and ACTs. Once senior year rolls around, students are waiting for acceptance letters from various universities. For some, choosing a major is an easy task and a decision that was made as a child and for others, choosing a major is difficult and nerve-wracking.
Sophomore Riley Heesters, junior Noah Torino and senior Prince Bediako detail their own experiences with choosing their respective majors, how they came to a decision and what influenced them.
Riley Heesters is a business management major with the general business option. Heesters' major decision was influenced by his own experience growing up in a family business. “Growing up in the midst of a family business taught me all about what it takes to start a business and build it into something meaningful. During this time, I was encouraged to build something of my own, which I did. In 2016, I started my own business reselling shoes, which I have now turned into a full-time job for myself! Ultimately, it felt as if I was landing right where I was meant to be, in the business field,” remarks Heesters.
Oftentimes, parents try to tell their children what major to choose in college. Heesters' decision to major in business was ultimately his own decision. He says, “I chose my major myself, my parents knew what I wanted to study and were very supportive of my decision.”
The process of choosing looks different for everyone but Heesters says that his process went smoothly. “Kean made it very easy with most of the components being online and when I needed assistance my advisor was there to help,” he remarks.
He also received help from his high school guidance counselor. “My high school guidance team was committed to being involved with each student's post high school decisions. They helped me every step of the way ensuring I knew all of my options at Kean.”
It is important to choose a major that relates to future goals and plans. Heesters believes that in the future he can use what he learned from Kean and his personal experiences to apply it wherever he finds himself. He believes that, “no matter where I end up, as long as it is in the business field, I will excel.”
Some students change their majors because of loss of interest or level of difficulty. Heesters admits that he has thought about changing his major before. “Of course I've thought about changing it before, I am not set on any specific career path yet so I'm really just following my interests. If that leads me to change my major, I could see myself doing it.”
He also says that in terms of difficulty his major is “just right.” He believes that it is up to the individual to challenge themselves and put their own skills to the test.
For any high school students who are preparing for college or any current college students who are struggling to pick a major Heesters advises, “Do not rush a decision. Do not be afraid to go into college undecided if you don't know what you want to study. You will eventually find your passion and once you do, make sure you follow it.
Junior, Noah Torino and senior, Prince Bediako’s journeys to college went differently because they both enlisted in the Army straight out of high school.
Torino is a physical education and health major with a double minor in athletic coaching and yoga studies. Torino describes his process for choosing a major as easy. “I reached out to a few schools and Kean’s Veteran Affairs called me the same day to help me apply and come in to meet.”
He says his prior interests in physical fitness is what led him to choosing his major. Torino believes that his current major correlates with his future goals and aspirations. Torino remarks, “My major is for physical education and health teaching specifically. I can become a PE teacher in any school K-12. I would love to teach high school students and coach the high school football team.”
Torino is a student who has never thought about changing his major. “I enjoy working with kids of all ages and want to bring the best out of them physically and mentally,” he confidently says.
The decision to become a physical education teacher was a decision that Torino made on his own. He says, "I chose my major myself. I am the first in my family to graduate college.”
He also did not receive any help from a guidance counselor. “I did not have any guidance. As I was getting out of the army, I looked into colleges back home with a great education program and Kean was at the top of the list.”
To high school seniors thinking about their next steps in life or college students who have yet to figure out what the future holds for them, Torino says, “Learn time management. Be open to new experiences. Time moves fast, learn to slow things down and be present in the moment.”
Bediako, a mathematical science major says that his skills in math is what led him to his major. He says, “I've always been superb in math since I was in elementary school. I like to consider myself an expert problem solver.”
Bediako admits that he has changed his major since starting college. “Since being in college, I changed my major my freshman year. I realized I wasn't challenging myself and was being lazy. I came doing criminal justice only because I was in the army. It wasn't interesting and I knew it was time to change.”
Math is a major that is often perceived as difficult but Bediako says, “I feel like my major is not for everyone. I enjoy math so I think it's just how much effort are you going to put in to [studying] and [learning] formulas.”
It is important to choose a major that will support ones future goals and endeavors. Bediako believes his major is putting him on the right track. “I plan on working for NASA, but currently [am] trying to start to get employed with the federal administration association in Atlantic City. I would be satisfied with any data analytical job.”
Upbringings, environments and school systems can influence a person’s decision about a major. Bediako says, “I chose everything on my own and my parents had no influence on my major.”
He also did not receive any guidance from school counselors. “I have never talked to my high school guidance counselor about college. I grew up in an urban school district where they were just trying to get us to graduate high school and I wasn't thinking about my future that much,” Bediako explains.
Bediako advises high school students and incoming freshmen to come mentally prepared for new experiences and to keep their eyes on the goals at hand. He explains, “It's easy to get off track in school because of the freedom to do your work or not or just miss class. It is okay to have fun here and there, but nothing is going to beat the feeling of graduating college.”
Choosing majors can be a process of trial and error but it is important to be patient. Everyone’s process is different and it is important for each student to find what works best for them.