News

Selecting a major not so stressful

For undeclared sophomore Alexandra Hurtado, the end of her sophomore semester at the University of Miami means one thing: escalating pressure to select a major.
Within the last two years, Hurtado has considered majoring in music business, journalism, education and biology and has taken a wide variety of courses only to find she is no closer to narrowing down her decision.
“I feel confused,” Hurtado said. “I wish I could try everything. Picking a major sounds so definite. I just feel like I’m only 20 and now I need to decide what I’m doing for the rest of my life? It’s scary.”
College students like Hurtado are overwhelmed by the onset of another academic year and are having to face the stress of declaring a major. Sources of these pressure include parents’ expectations, the economic downturn and opportunities for employment in a dwindling job market.
Margaret Hopkins, dean of undeclared students in the College of Arts and Sciences, said that the greatest pressure on students comes from the parents. She listed business, pre-med and pre-law as the majors parents believe are worth studying, while other fields like music, literature and fine arts are less encouraged.
“Art is not a happy place for parents because they want their kids to go to law school instead,” Hopkins said.
According to figures released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the United States has had a 4.4 percent unemployment rate for college graduates as of March 2011. The number of college grads working menial part-time jobs has spiked by more than 70 percent since 2009.
Regardless, Hopkins advises students to focus on their academic experience right now.
“Don’t worry about your 25-year-old self or your 40-year-old self,” she said. “That person will take care of themselves.”
Megan Garber, assistant director for career development and outreach at the Toppel Career Center, suggested students do extensive research into options available to them. One great way to do this is through internships.
“Internships provide invaluable information,” Garber said. “And if you hate it, you’re not burning any bridges by not coming back.”
Other resources like degree major exploration on myUM and interest-based career assessments at Toppel give undeclared students a better idea of their options. Advisers for every school are also available to for guidance and counseling.
Hopkins explained how the university tries to lighten the burden on undecided students and encourage them to continue exploring before making their final decision.
“Do a little soul searching,” Hopkins said. “The University of Miami is a well-exposed research university with a tremendous reputation. When you’re out there looking for a job and your credentials are from UM, you can’t go wrong.”

Natalia Macias may be contacted at nmacias@themiamihurricane.com.

April 28, 2011

Reporters

Natalia Macias


2 COMMENTS ON THIS POST To “Selecting a major not so stressful”

  1. Norma Macias says:

    Great Job! Interships, Interships, Interships!

Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

University of Miami men’s basketball coach Jim Larrañaga received a grand jury subpoena for his phon ...

Get ready for an avalanche of University of Miami defensive backs and linemen descending on the Hard ...

The University of Miami football team has another player with a season-ending injury — and this one ...

When UM coach Mark Richt summoned quarterback Malik Rosier into his office last year, a few months a ...

Quarterback Malik Rosier of the No. 8-ranked Miami Hurricanes maintains a solid third place in what ...

From a game simulating how whales navigate to a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald, the U showcased some of ...

A new mobile game called Blues and Reds, now available worldwide, aims to help researchers study int ...

A major Lancet Commission report, a three-year project headed by UM’s Professor Felicia Knaul and co ...

With a $6.8 million NIH grant, the UM School of Nursing and Health Studies and FIU Robert Stempel Co ...

A summer 2017 excursion unlike any other united a group of University of Miami students and faculty ...

The Hurricanes will look to slow down an inspired Syracuse team at Hard Rock Stadium on Saturday. ...

University of Miami head coach Mark Richt was selected to the 20-member Paul "Bear" Bryant ...

As a Hurricane Club member, you are invited to participate in the 25th Annual University of Miami Ha ...

University of Miami sophomore Bruce Brown Jr. was among 21 players named to the watch list for the 2 ...

Head coach Katie Meier and senior forward/center Erykah Davenport will represent Miami Thursday at t ...

TMH Twitter Feed
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.