1. Don’t discount any of your interests
In order to pick my Fall courses, I had to list potential majors I was interested in. I knew I was interested in Photography and Graphic Design because I made a yearbook for a club in my high school and did some Marketing for a swim team. However, I didn’t list Photography. I thought exploring Marketing and Graphic Design was a lot for one semester, but I was so wrong. Explore EVERYTHING you are interested in early on so you can narrow it down later.
2. Join aaaaaaall the clubs
I went to so many first club meetings, but I stuck with Animation Club, Mural Club, and DREAM (a child-mentoring club). I was constantly volunteering in high school so I needed an opportunity to continue throughout college — hence DREAM. Painting is one of the few activities that can fully unwind me when I’m extremely anxious and stressed, so I joined the Mural Club. Now, Animation Club is somewhat of an anomaly. I love animated movies but I have never been interested enough to try to learn how to animate or anything of the sort. But, at the Meet the Majors fair, not only did I figure out that a Business degree with a Marketing concentration won’t work for me (I’m not a math person). I also talked to an Animation professor at the Media Arts table. We had a conversation that day that made me feel all the more passionate about pursuing Graphic Design and possibly Animation. So, I joined Animation Club and fell in love. I was very nervous at first going to all of these club meetings (especially if I was going alone), but it was definitely worth it in the end. I pushed out of my social comfort zone A LOT during my first semester by talking to people next to me on the first day of my classes, going out of my way to talk to professors and advisors, and meeting new people at events I made myself attend. It paid off tremendously; I’ve been told that I seem like a very outgoing person (when I used to be too anxious to talk to new people) and I’ve made all of my closest friends by being open to talking to new people.
Talk to anyone and everyone you can about majors you’re interested in, especially your advisor, professors, and upperclassmen. Google can give you a lot of technical information, but these people have experiences and stories you won’t find on the internet. At the Meet the Majors Fair, I spoke to a student at the Communication Studies table who went on co-op to do marketing for Adobe. Let me repeat that. MARKETING for ADOBE. This was when I realized I accidentally discovered an alternate route to pursue marketing — Communication Studies. Remember that Animation professor I talked about earlier? I talked to him two more times at the What’s In A Major events for CAMD. I also talked to my Explore advisor Sarah and my Connections and Decisions professor Maggie (if either of you are reading this — thank you again!) about finding a way to somehow combine my interests in Marketing (without being a Business major), Graphic Design, and Animation into a major/minor combination that allows me to graduate in 4 years.
I decided that in order to be happy, I needed a job where creativity is not only encouraged, but vital to success. I knew I was making the right decision because of how happy the thought of pursuing these career paths made me and how excited I was to learn more.
5. Decide, for now
After many meetings with and emails to my advisor, I decided to declare the Communication Studies and Media Arts combined major with a minor in Graphic and Information Design last March. As of right now, this is the perfect major for me and I have loved each and every class I have taken to fulfill it. I’m excited about improving my skills and I cannot wait to go on co-op! Coming into college undeclared, I was so afraid I would end up choosing a major I would be unhappy with to make other people happy or to try to guarantee a fruitful future. I’m beyond happy with what I’ve chosen, but I’m still open to change if I go on co-op and decide I want to go in a different direction, or if many years from now I pursue a career unrelated to my major. Decide when it feels right for you, and be open to change — life is full of it!