Series: Why I Chose My Major

One of the first things everybody asks you in college is: “What is your major?” They ask this question because the major you choose to study is a sort of identifier that people use to remember you. Your major is important. Your major defines what you will be studying for the next four or more years and possibly even what sort of career path you will take later on in life.

HOWEVER, your major does not need to be decided upon immediately, nor is it set in stone. Plenty of people wait a couple years to decide their major and plenty of people change their majors several times before they find one that suits them. While you should generally try to find a major that you enjoy by the end of your sophomore year, that still gives you an entire two years to figure it out.

Whenever I talk to someone about choosing a major, the first thing I ask them is: “What do you do for fun?” The reason I ask that question is because if you want to truly enjoy college and your future career, you need to study something that you are interested in and have fun doing. When I was in high school, I played video games and browsed the Internet for fun. It isn’t surprising that I decided to major in computer science.

I am currently a computer science major, and I love it. I’ve loved computers all my life and have always wanted to have a career that reflected my interest. Interestingly enough, my high school did not offer any computer science classes, so I had almost no background in the subject coming out of high school. The only time I had ever programmed prior to college was at a summer camp hosted at UAF called the Alaska Summer Research Academy (unfortunately I can’t talk about that now, so click on the link). Fortunately, I understood that picking a major didn’t rely on prior experience. All that mattered was that I loved computers and knew that I wanted them to be a part of my major. However, I was not always a computer science major!

When first reading through the list of majors offered at UAF, I couldn’t decide between computer engineering or computer science. I had read as much as I could about both programs and couldn’t decide on a single one. Naturally, I decided to try majoring in both. I took the introductory engineering and computer science courses and decided to see which I enjoyed more. Although I didn’t realize it until the end of my first semester, I hated engineering and loved computer science. I would much rather sit at a computer all day doing my programming homework than anything else. It also helped because double majoring would have added an extra year or two to my degree program, which I wasn’t totally okay with.

After deciding on a major and taking several required core classes, I realized that there were several other subjects I was interested in. The nice thing about college is that there are these crazy things called minors, which are like miniature version of a major. They’re nice because if you like a subject but don’t necessarily want to major in it, you can get a minor in the subject easily and expand your horizons! Since starting at UAF, I have added mathematics, economics, and accounting minors to my degree. Now I get to go to school to study computers, math, and money. How awesome is that?

Thanks to the small bump in my college road, I was able to settle on a major (and several minors) that I love. The computer science department, faculty and students, is made completely of awesome, and I wouldn’t trade my degree for the world.

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