Conquering collegiate confusion

What to do when you’re already a senior but still undecided? 

Read on for our elder’s Q&A approach to making a decision.

Dear EWC:

As my title states, I am a senior in college and I am still having trouble deciding what I should major in. 

When I first entered college, almost four years ago, I was undecided. I then became an English Education major, then Music Major. I thought I was unhappy with my major but I ended up realizing that I was unhappy with the school I was at. I did not like the programs and I was having trouble finding friends. I decided to transfer universities my fourth year. 

Now, this year, I am at a new University. I want to be a teacher or a guidance counselor one day. I am having trouble deciding if I should major in English so I can graduate sooner with less debt or go to school for another 2-ish years and complete the English Education degree? 

I am afraid if I stay in school longer that I will run out of fuel and motivation. As my fourth year in undergrad, I am already struggling with this. Even though I know that it is completely okay to finish your degree in your own time, I am struggling with self-doubt and embarrassment as it might take me six years to complete my undergrad. I also don’t want to be in debt for the rest of my life as I have to take out a lot of loans to help pay for school. 

I am not sure if I should take the easy, financially smart route or if I should stick it out so I am able to have a career I thoroughly enjoy.

Dirk replies:

Thanks for your letter. To help you with your decisions, I am going to ask you a few questions about which you need to be reasonably confident of the answers or how to get the answers (such as the school placement office).

Can graduating English majors have a reasonable chance of getting interviews for open teaching positions in the areas where you want to live? Are English majors getting interviews for business positions in those areas? If yes is the answer to either of those questions, then the “easy, financially smart route” would be a good choice. You would be earning a salary and possibly earning benefits. You could work and also go on to earn a Master’s degree in Education at night, which should increase your chances of obtaining a job in your field and of increasing your earnings potential more than earning an undergraduate degree in Education.

If the answer to the above question regarding graduating English majors is “no” or “uncertain,” then you probably should consider working full or part time, incurring more debt now, changing your major to Education, and going to school full or part time.

In any event, you must get that degree! Studies show that the disparity over a lifetime between those with degrees and those without one is huge. What has helped me finish things when I lose motivation is to think of what I have to do as a job. Just get it done! I wish you well.



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