How to: pick a major

Is mayonnaise a major?

Sam Johnson

More stories from Sam Johnson

The Tator
December 13, 2022

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Before our oasis arrives, I have some tips to ensure your summer is as enjoyable as possible.

There are a lot of difficult decisions one must make in college. 

To live on or off-campus, be responsible or skip class, study or go to Water Street, but there’s one I think is the hardest of all: picking a major.

There’s a nearly endless supply of fields to choose from, so it’s impossible to explore them all. I’m here as a fourth-year student to help you find your field.

There are three reasons to pick a major. 

Either you’re passionate about something, there’s a high demand for something or something is going to make you rich. I, as a creative writing student, clearly chose all three.

Before you pick a major, you have to choose one of these three ways to pick a major. This requires some self-reflection.

Would you rather have happiness, job security or a bunch of money? Once you’ve answered this question, you’ve eliminated two-thirds of potential majors.


So, you’re passionate about something. That’s good, that means you have a chance at a career you’ll find motivating and worthwhile.

Passion, while fulfilling, isn’t always profitable.

If you’re an artist, you’re probably going to have to get used to waiting tables or sales while you hone your craft.

If you like psychology, sociology or any of the humanities, you’ll probably need grad school before you can actually use your degree.

If your calling is education, those summers off will be a great opportunity to supplement your income.

College is a beautiful time for people who love what they’re learning about. Making a living at a job you’re excited about sounds like an amazing experience.

The part in between? It might get a little rough. Make sure you like what you’re doing before spending thousands of dollars to pursue it.

Job security:

So, you just want a job. That’s fair, it’s good to be low maintenance.

Business is the perfect field for people who have no idea what they want to do with their life. It’s a perfectly adequate, nonspecific degree that’ll land you management and sales positions nearly anywhere.

Education is another good path for finding employment. Schools need teachers and always will. Unfortunately, kids are a nightmare and the pay is rough.

Healthcare is another solid option. The schooling, hours and work environment all sound exhausting, though.

If you don’t care where you work, all that matters is steady, gainful employment, you have plenty of options. One of them is not spending all this money on a degree and bringing in boatloads of cash in the trades.

A bunch of money:

The good news? There are a number of fields that pay handsomely. The bad news? They almost all require a lot of schooling, specialized skills and reading.

You could be a doctor. All you have to do is endure over a decade of school, residencies and ridiculous workloads.

Pretty much every STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — field pays extremely well. 

Computers, engineering and healthcare is the Jordan, Pippen and Rodman of making it to the upper class.

But, if you’re anything like me, math and science make you sleepy. Don’t worry, there’s also a high-paying field for liberal arts students — the law. 

Being a lawyer usually pays incredibly well, for good reason.

You have to take a bunch of hard tests, go to law school, be broke as you make a name for yourself and work 100 hours a week before you have a shot at being a rich, successful lawyer.

Then, you sell your soul. After that, the money comes pouring in.

There’s no wrong major. Just think about it for a while, do your research and you’ll eventually find the field you belong in. 

Worst case scenario? You get to go back to school and do it all over again.

Johnson can be reached at [email protected].