By: Sergio Santolo
No matter whom I run into, talk to, or meet, my chosen major is always one of the topics of discussion. It’s not wrong to ask someone about their major, but sometimes it can be stressful if you don’t exactly know if it’s the right one for you.
With course selection now in full motion, students need to select their courses. I’ve always been told to select courses that are relevant to my major, regardless of whether or not they’re interesting to me. In my personal opinion, this is not the way to go.
Thinking about my life post-graduation, I’m not entirely sure if my major will be all that relevant. As a Life Sciences student, I would ideally like to go to Medical school and pursue an M.D. But if I happen to change my mind or don’t get accepted, what do I do? I often question my decisions and ask myself if whether or not I made the right decision with my major. Maybe I should have gone into something more general or something entirely different altogether. I’m sure a lot of us think about this, especially around course selection time. We aren’t wrong to think this way and question ourselves; this will only help us in our journey.
If you’re reading this, it’s very likely that you are a student of McMaster or some other post-secondary institution. We are privileged to receive the education available to us and as such, we should make the most out of it. Degree relevance to your future goals is obviously important, but we are constantly evolving and as such, our future is an entire mystery.
The Student Success Centre has a lot of resources to help with exploring careers and what’s next. I came across a Self Reflection worksheet that I thought was really helpful for thinking about electives. The very first question it asks is, “What drives your curiosity and makes you want to learn or do more?” I recommend giving it a read if you’re also thinking about courses beyond academic demands.
Sometimes your major has a minor role in your life and career, while your minor has a major one. When selecting your courses, it’s important to take courses that you enjoy and find value in. Our careers aren’t necessarily dictated by what we take in college or university, although they can be; more often than not, our careers are inspired by what we do with the lessons we learn throughout our journey. There are plenty of successful high school dropouts and Science majors that did it a little bit differently, but nonetheless are determined to succeed. Graduating as a Life Sciences student is great, but if I don’t apply a stern work ethic, demonstrate resilience and perseverance, and display any sort of ambition, my degree means nothing.
Going into course selection this year, I am using all my elective units to take courses that appeal to me, whether they are science-related or not. Select the mandatory courses for your degree, but when selecting electives, consider something different that you still see value in. You never know; you may find a hidden passion in an economics course or history course that you never knew you had.
Sergio Santolo blogged for the Student Success Centre from 2017 to 2018.