Major Pains: Choosing College Classes

Choosing College ClassesChoosing college classes can be tough. Some of the classes may not be what you think they are or the title of the class may be a gross representation of its contents. So reading the description of each class is important. Intro to Poetry, for example, may cover the history of poets from the 18th century, not about learning to write poetry for the 21st century. And when you decide upon a college major, read those descriptions too. Look at the list of courses that are actually required for your major.

Once you’ve actually gotten around to picking a major, make sure you’re taking the right path in getting that promotion you’d always wanted, or for a new career choice. You’d hate to smolder in college for longer than you have to. And for the love of god, don’t major in pottery or sculpting. College is way too expensive to dove into your hobbies. Major in something so you can have a real job to pay the mortgage. You know, to the bank that actually owns your home?

If you’re still undecided on a college major, take all the core classes first. Core classes are building-block courses like English, math, history and science, which are required for almost all majors. Most colleges feel that these “starter courses” help students become well-rounded graduates (I have my own theories, thank you). For example: You can hover around the water cooler at work while talking about how music has transformed from the monophonic, plain songs like Gregorian chants to the polyphonic sounds of Patti Smith. Mentioning Britney Spears instead can really make you sound up to speed.

The cores will usually take two to three semesters to complete (for you slow buggers, that’s about one-and-a-half years). Most of them will seem like a waste of time–that’s because most of them are–but this is what it’ll take to drool over that glossy diploma you’ve always wanted.


Can you guess these celebrities’ college majors?


A. Richard Nixon


B. Denzel Washington


C. Martha Stewart


D. Garth Brooks


E. Michael Jordan


F. Oprah Winfrey



A.) History. B.) Journalism. C.) History & Architectural History. D.) Advertising. E.) Geology. F.) Speech & Drama


* Source: How to Choose a College Major by Linda Landis Andrews – McGraw-Hill 2006 and MSN Encarta.


Talk to an academic counselor at the school if you’re still confused about all this. They can probe your brain with questions about your likes, dislikes and where you see yourself in five to 10 years, career wise. I guess you can just ask yourself that right now. Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Are you good with children? Do you like dealing with people? Do you thrive under pressure and lay flaccid when the pressure’s off? Are you a chatterbox or a lonesome dove?

Imagine yourself doing that job, being that job when deciding on a college major. Supposing you are a chatterbox, then festering in a back office as an accountant would probably not suit you. And don’t think of becoming an attorney at a hotshot law firm if stage fright smothers your wherewithal.

Go prepared with a hit list before you visit the counselor’s office. Things will go smoothly–and they’ll have you signing up to be an astrophysicist in no time. With that said, bolt up from the chair if an academic counselor tells you that you cannot do or be something. If your heart is in it and you have the dedication, why can’t you?

Whether you’ve decided already or not, you will have to declare a major by your second year of college. For those of you who already have college classes under your belt, you must declare straight away. At first, most students take the easy way out and declare liberal arts as a major. Translation: “I haven’t the slightest idea what I want to do with my life, but I do know my parents sent me to college for something.” Don’t worry. Most students get an idea of what they want to do and what they don’t want to do within two semesters. The class ranges will vary. The core classes, which everyone has to take, will test your enthusiasm on which subjects you like best. I chose journalism as a major because it kept me writing. I love to write, perform research and communicate with people. I did not choose creative writing because I knew I needed a steady job; I could always write books on the side.

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