You Ask, What Can I Do With This Major, And We Provide The Answers

By Thomas Ryerson

The age old dilemma, you do all that work and wind up with a major in...what? Take your choice: sociology, psychology, ethnic studies, physics, classics, women's studies, organizational behavior and...not English lit. You didn't do a major in English lit, did you?

Well, whatever, don't worry about it: what's done is done. So there you stand, proud graduate, nervously grasping that diploma which consumed so much of your life, with late nights, burning the midnight oil, as you crammed for exams, losing yourself for hours in the library, all stretching back behind you like a trail of shattered dreams. It suddenly strikes you. Heck, what am I going to do now? What can I do with this major? Ah, yes, the proverbial real world is suddenly knocking at the window of your dorm room. But don't panic, help is here.

However, let's start with some precautionary advice. If by chance you've had the foresight to consider this question before registering for your major, there are some steps to take to make sure you're going in the right direction.

1. At the risk of stating the obvious, you have to figure out what actually interests you.If you haven't done that, do it immediately. One smart step is to carefully examine options for majors provided by your college of choice. Rank them in order of priority.

2. Once you've decided, talk to people. Ask around for connections who studied the same major. What are they doing, now?

3. Talk to someone whose job is to know the ropes of just such matters. If you're still in high school, or even colleges to which you've been accepted (or even those you are considering for application), they have counselors and advisers. Providing you advice on just such matters is what they're paid to do. Make the best use of the resources at your disposal.

4. Or, like, if you want to go totally crazy, why not have a shot at a focused Google search: something like, what in blazes can I do with this English literature major? (You might actually find something.)

No need to fret though if it's too late for such proactive prevention. The fact of the matter is that all those suggestions in points 2 through 4 are just as good for figuring out what to do when you already have your major. Find what have been the career options and choices of those with the same major. However forlorn you feel about your future, rest assured that the college adviser has heard it all before. Furthermore, lots of universities these days have career centers. Don't think for a second that you're the first major in Renaissance poetry to wander in looking for career leads.

But whatever else you do, don't miss out on your Google search - the fount of all info, good and true! But we've already done some of the work for you. It turns out that many universities have resources to look up just this sort of stuff. For instance, you can check out the University of California career center.

There you can find data on career possibilities for dozens of majors. They have some fairly obscure ones. Heck, they might even have yours!

Groove on this all you English majors out there. It turns out with that wildly impractical English major you can still score an average salary of $43,589. (You can buy a lot of copies of Chaucer for those smackeroos.) And, better still, consider the actual occupations open to you: you can be an analyst, an editorial assistant, a product development coordinator or even...wait for it...a college adviser! Just imagine the poetic justice, as you get to lean back in your chair, with an air of confident bemusement, feet perched on your desk, with hands folded behind your head and smile knowingly each time another petrified grad comes stumbling into your office and nervously asks: uh, what can I do with this major?

So chin up all you grads; however improbable you may fear was your choice of major. There is hope for your future. Heck, there might even be hope for a pay check in your future!

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