Pursuing Excellent, the Right Way

Choosing a major in college is often a daunting experience. With so much to consider, it is important to take the right approach when making this decision.  First and foremost, it is very important to differentiate between internal and external pressure. Parents, teachers, and even colleagues often have an opinion on the matter. It is certainly possible that they do have your best interests in mind, but they are often mistaken as to what those interests actually are. You know yourself best, and only you can know what it is you truly wish to pursue throughout the rest of your college career. It is also important to realize that while college undoubtedly affects your future, thinking too far ahead may lead to failure or regret in the present.

Jim Donovan, Goldman Sachs executive and professor at the University of Virginia School of Law, once told his students: “Major in what interests you and what you’ll do well in. Education is one of the most important keys to your success, so take different classes and get a well-rounded understanding of the world around you. Be independent enough not to follow the herd, no matter what your major. Look at all your options- banking, business, entrepreneurial, policy, nonprofits, politics, etc.”

Many high achievers agree with Jim Donovan. Goldman Sachs and law school certainly reveal a measure of well-roundedness. MIT’s career counselor Marilyn C. Wilson once pointed out that “there is no way to foresee what job markets will be like five to ten years down the road.” Wilson also encouraged students to choose a career path based on their interests and talents, as opposed to choosing an interest based on a career path.