You’ve just graduated high school, and as you scroll through the list of available majors at your choice university, nothing pops out at you. But that’s okay, you’ve still got time.
It’s the end of your freshman year, and you’re still undeclared. But you’ve still got to take the rest of your general ed requirements anyway, no rush.
Sophomore year is drawing to a close. You’ve completed all your basics and are reading to move on to the more advanced material… but you still haven’t picked a subject to a major in. Figuring that you’re already headed in that direction, you pick general studies and spend the next couple years taking a bit of everything.
You’ve just made a huge mistake. While general studies might seem like the perfect major for the indecisive, it’s actually a waste of your time. It can be a little overwhelming to pick your career choice at eighteen, but any decision is better than general studies, even…
Any Other Liberal Arts Degree
Yes, I know, general studies are under the same “humanities” label that liberal arts are, but at least liberal arts display a sense of commitment. When employers see general studies on your resume, they see it as a sign of indecisiveness. Political science, psychology, and English majors might not have a clear career path after graduation either, but employers are able to extrapolate some basic qualities from these majors. Poli sci grads are likely well-informed on current policy, psychology majors probably have good people skills, and English majors can think critically. These other liberal arts display some tidbit of a candidate’s personality. While this is all inferred, but it is a lot more to go off of than general studies, which will just leave them wondering what you even did for four years.
And while you and other humanities majors might be facing the same dismal job market, but art history majors got to spend four years studying what they were really passionate about. They got to take classes that interested them and enhanced their quality of life. General studies doesn’t even give you that.
On the flip side of the coin, you don’t exactly know what your passions are anyway. That’s sort of the problem. You might have a revelation, or you might not. But if you’re just going to pick a major just for the sake of picking one, it might as well be one that can lead to a job once you’re out.
STEM degrees will give you a clear career path and opportunity. Also, you’ll have better prospects and starting salaries than humanities majors. While you might have to try harder in school than you would majoring in general studies, you’ll get an obvious return on your investment. If you’re not going to school for your passions, then pick a major with practicality in mind instead.
No one wants to be a college dropout, but ask yourself, why are you even attending a four year institution? Is it just because you were expected to, or did you just want to delay adulthood? Whatever the reason, figure it out fast, because time is not on your side. If you haven’t invested too much time or money in university, consider a vocational school instead. While many students are flooding four-year universities, the skills gap continues to widen. Employers are hiring for mid-level jobs that require a technical certificate or an associate’s degree. Instead of writing essays and analyzing pH levels, pick up an in-demand trade.
You’re at a crucial decision point in your life. While the pressure can be overwhelming, it’s important that you don’t crack now. None of these options are necessarily the right one; it’s going to depend on your individual preferences. However, any of them are better than general studies. Do yourself a favor and commit to something.