Major Moment: Joe Barbito

By Joe Barbito

Choosing a major is not a glamorous process. There’s no draft day-like hype where you sit in a room waiting for one of the colleges to say “With the first overall pick…”. There’s no call from an employer to say “Mr. Barbito, congratulations…”. One day you wake up and it has stuck in your mind: I figured out a major.

In my first semester, I took Fundamentals of Computer Science and Experiential Entrepreneurship. One of these classes gave me a lot of fulfillment and taught the many concepts I still use in my major today. The other class left me feeling dumbfounded every time I left and the assignments had me miserable.

“Fundies,” as it is called, was nearly impossible for me. The amount of time needed to succeed in the class was hard for me to manage with three other classes and clubs I wanted to be active in. My skillset did not match the highly technical, painstakingly complicated problems that I had to face in that class. By the end of the semester I had dropped it. I do not regret taking that class one bit, because I learned what it feels like to dislike something you thought you loved.

On the flip side, my business class was interesting and new and exciting. I liked my professor, I liked the work and the readings, and the class gave me a lot of satisfaction. It encouraged me to join Entrepreneurs Club (E-Club for short) and look into business as a potential major. I had my reservations, still, coming from a background where most of my friends had chosen to pursue hard sciences and engineering.

If the hallmarks of journalism and engineering are writing and math, then the calling card of a business course is the dreaded group project. For Experiential Entrepreneurship we had a semester-long project in a group consisting of myself and three others. One night we had all met to put together a report for class. I had Shark Tank on the TV in my room. At the time, it was one of my favorite shows to watch.

“When are you going to declare business already?”

I was caught off guard. Someone in my group was borderline fed up with my indecisiveness. I was excelling in this class. I was involved in entrepreneurs club. I was watching Shark Tank while doing homework.

The signs were all there.

This moment has stuck with me two years later. I have completed a co-op and taken a number of major requirements. I now help people find the best fit major for them. And I will never forget a group project helping me finally make a decision I had always wanted to make.