One of the greatest tools during your time in college is the plethora of classes and subjects that are available to you. This is particularly useful if you have a variety of career interests or if you want to specialize in your chosen field.
As colleges tighten up their required curriculum, it can be tough to earn all the credits you need to stay on track for graduation. Most people would rather graduate in 4 years, or as soon as possible, instead of dragging it out. However, you can develop a strategy to get in the credits you need and those classes you would like to take as… experiments.
Explore interests within your program’s requirements
General education requirements typically dictate that you must earn a specific number of hours in each curriculum area. For example, perhaps a program requires nine hours each of social sciences and fine arts/humanities. The social sciences section could include subjects such as economics, psychology, philosophy, and political science. Theater appreciation, art history, dance, and literature courses are examples of fine arts/humanities options. These subjects are varied that afford you many different combinations. Choosing classes for your general education requirements is a prime opportunity to branch out and consider other avenues.
Sometimes that one random class (Geology? Eighteenth-Century Women Writers?) ends up changing your entire career trajectory. Aside from finding a new life goal, you could find a new interest or hobby. Even if the class is not what you hoped for, you know that subject is not for you, and you can make better choices because of it.
If you are already considering changing a major (or adding a minor), take a class in that field of study as an introduction. For example, if you were considering switching from chemistry to English literature, you could ask others studying English literature and your professor for more information about the field. Between asking questions, reading, writing, and attending class, could discover whether you are truly interested in literature before you make a huge change. It could save time, stress, and money!
When you are in introductory classes (or any class, really), go to office hours and ask your professor or TA about what they do, the subject area, or any other topic you want to know more about. An informational interview could be helpful to get a feel for the subject and whether it is something you would like to continue studying. Showing enthusiasm is always best over the alternative, so do not be afraid to interact with your teachers. Not only can it expand your knowledge, but also ensures that they will remember you. It could be a segway into a good relationship, which can lead to a good reference should you ever need one from a professor.
Follow your interests!
Put simply: pursue subjects that intrigue you, and your experiences will point you toward a path that suits your skills and personality. Approaching college as a time of exploration could help you find a path that you truly love. After years of hard work, coming out of college with a degree you are confident about should fill you with pride and excitement for your upcoming professional journey.