Monday, October 24, 2011


Ally was home for an overnight visit this weekend.  We had a nice visit - got the scoop on her life at college and had a long discussion about her major.

She is currently a Theater major, but she had been having doubts  that she wanted to pursue drama.  I guess her one theater class was all it took., she wants to change her major.  However, like her mom and so many others - she doesn't know what she wants to study or do with her life.

We talked through our own decision making, the impossibility of knowing what skills might be in demand 5 years from now and the Holy Grail of "having a calling."  We talked about ways to go about discovering different options and how to apply her interests to the possibilities.  She is an ENTJ on the Meyers Briggs scale, she is smart, expressive and a little too concerned with her social life. When I asked her what she is the most interested in, she said "sleep."  Okey-dokey.

So I am putting it to you - how did you or someone you know figure it out?  What would you recommend to a confused college freshman?   as a woman in my fifties who has never figured out what I want to be when I grow up - I feel a little help would be handy on this subject!


writingtowellness said...

I knew that I wanted to be a doctor very early in my life and was certain by age 15. I am a strong IN and waffle between TJ and FP on the Myers-Briggs. Depends on how I take the test, work mode or not.

For a confused college freshman, there a many online aptitude tests for both deciding a major and career options. Perhaps combining that with any guidance available at her university?

I wouldn't imagine that a INTJ would gravitate toward drama but something more I administered the M-B to medical interns every year to help them understand how to work together. Also took it a zillion times throughout my academic career as part of team development, but there are so many other instruments to help assess career fits.
But check this out from Wayne State:

michiganme said...

Wow, I'll be watching your other comments for some insight on this one. My kids are approaching college and are fretting that they don't know what they want to do when they grow up. I think if you don't have a passion, then it's one foot in front of the other---just keep moving and exploring. Jobs are a good way to discover your strengths & interests too.

Tricia said...

Well since you asked......
I too never figered out what I wanted to do in my life. What I did certianly could have been vastly improved upon!
In MB I tested out as INTJ in some ways I can see why but it did not really help me decide on a career. Here are some of the things I wish I had known back then
- figure out what you can do well. no point trying to be a research scientist if you don't have the IQ to be successful. Some careers require particular skills, abilities, personalities be realistic
- find out what careers seem to have steady empolyment possibilities. You will be a lot happier if you can find a job in your choosen field. Things like R.N., Accountant, Carpenter have better long term demand
- Be realistic about earning potential of the career
-How much autonomy and respect does the career have. Low skilled jobs tend to be unbearably boring and sometimes degrading
- there are a lot of jobs where you will have to do a lot things you don't like. Decide if you can live with those parts
- Forget trying to look for your bliss, it only frustrates you. Find something that you can do well, you can get a job at and make a living and that gives you some feeling of internal satisfaction.
About majors...I started out in Bachelor of Music. I was fairly good but not good enough as a musician. I took Psych 100 as a elective. I really enjoyed it, found it very interesting. One day while leaving class I asked another student what he thought of the class he said "It's o.k." I said "O.K.! I love this stuff!" The next year I switched majors.

Jennifer (Jen on the Edge) said...

Honestly, I didn't figure it out until well after I left college.

If she can postpone declaring a major for a while and just focus on taking classes in different areas, that might help her hone in on what excites her enough to study it for the next few years.

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I agree with Jen on the Edge--also, what do YOU see her as being good at?

My older two are pursuing careers that I think are a good fit for them (though I waited until they came to the conclusion on their own).