College students, the future, and happiness

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Keith Reed

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When I was home for Thanksgiving break, my mother asked, what do I plan to do after college and where do I want to live?

These questions did not stump me. I have known since the end of my second year in college what I want to do and where I want to live. Verbalizing it to my mother was what was needed to make it real to me. Some of the people whom I come in contact with do not have their futures as planned out. There is nothing wrong with not knowing, and there is some solace in that.

A study done in 2013 via the ACT test states that in the graduation class of 2013, approximately 61 percent of females and 62 percent of males needed assistance in deciding their educational and occupational plans. That was the year that I took the ACT, and I was completely unsure of what I wanted to do in college.

I applied to this university as a cinema major and soon switched to English. The switch led to my happiness in the major. Finding the best-fitting major is something that many students struggle finding. ACT also calculated the percentages of high-school graduates by their planned major area and the best-fitting major area. The results showed that the majority of students chose health sciences, social sciences and law, and business. On the other side of the chart, it showed the redistribution of the students into major areas that were the best fit for their interests. The top major areas were business, education, and human services. If there was more college counseling offered in public schools, there would not be this big of a disparity in the distribution of best-fitting majors.

A survey done by Gallup and Purdue University, given to 30,000 college graduates, shows that there is more to college than jobs and money. The researchers found that certain sorts of experiences in college help prepare students for not only great jobs but great lives. They also found that liberal-arts majors were slightly more satisfied with their jobs than were business and science majors; granted, the former are less likely to be employed full-time. For graduates who remember having had a professor care about them, made them excited to learn, and encouraged them to follow their dreams, the odds of them being engaged at work more than doubled.

I personally can say that I have had teachers who cared for their craft and made me care more for the material. That being said, following your dreams and choosing a major that you are interested in over the guaranteed “moneymakers” is not a bad thing. There is not going to be another time in life when you have this much freedom to sculpt your future. College is a short, formative period of time, so take those classes that you have wanted to take.

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