For Ben Highton ‘18, choosing a major felt like a very intimidating decision.
“I came in [to college] pretty nervous about not having a major,” said Highton.
For students with similar feelings at Fairfield University, the Office of Academic Support & Retention, alongside with the Career Planning Center, offered an event called, “No Major? No Problem!” on Tuesday, March 24.
The event was run by Colby Caron, Assistant Director of Academic Support & Retention and Sue Quinlivan, Associate Director of the Career Planning Center.
“It helps students understand what steps they need to go through in the major selection process and to inform our students that they are not alone. Also, that we are there to help them and that there are a lot of resources available on campus to help them in their academic journey,” said Caron.
The event covered common myths and fears about selecting a major, as well as ways to help narrow down options for majors and resources available to students on campus. Seven students attended the event, many of whom were undecided.
A favorite part of the event among those in attendance was an exercise looking at common skills asked for in the workplace, in topics such as communication, research and planning, human relations, management and production skills.
Freshman Nadra Al-Hamwy considered this a very helpful part of the event. “It was good to think about your passions, strengths and weaknesses and match them up with the major at Fairfield to see what majors have the strengths and skills that match yours.”
Highton agreed, saying, “the most helpful part was when we did the activity where we ticked off what we were good at to find out what our skills were and figure out that there are a lot of things out there that you could possibly major in.”
When asked about the smaller size of the event, Caron said that the size was an advantage to the students that attended.
“Students were able to have individual attention and ask questions that were specific to themselves,” Caron said.
Quinlivan agreed, saying, “When there is a more intimate group, it is easier for the students.”
Overall, both the students and the faculty members spoken to agreed that the event was a success and important part of the student’s college journeys.
Al-Hamwy felt the event was a great first step in the major decision-making process. “It showed me the next step in figuring out what I want to do,” she said.
Quinlivan believed that the event can be a great help for students like Highton and Al-Hamwy, who feel overly stressed by the major decision-making process.
“Oftentimes, students put that pressure on themselves by thinking that [when] they make a major decision, they are making a career decision; it can be very overwhelming,” she said.
Highton felt that the event eased his worries about the decision making process. “I feel more prepared, but not so much rushed. I feel like I can think about what I really want and knowing that I don’t have to pick something just because I’m undeclared.”
Freshman Asha Perry agreed, saying, “I felt that this workshop helped me a little bit more and gave me some more ideas in figuring out what I want to do.”
Students looking for advice about declaring a major, or wanting more information about career options for specific majors, can contact the Office of Academic Support & Retention and the Career Planning Center at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.