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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Thursday, May 30, 2024

Choosing the 'right' college major

I hail from the Golden State, where the temperature is mild and the beach is near. Many people ask me why I traveled all the way across the country to Wisconsin for college. Why not just go to a cheaper UC school? There are a plethora of answers to this question. I wanted to get out of my comfort zone, see new parts of the country and more. However, one of the biggest players into my decision to attend UW-Madison was the appeal of their strong journalism program.

Having been recently admitted into the acclaimed School of Journalism, I am doing something many people have warned me not to. I am willingly going into a field that is massively in flux with the rapid changes in technology and social media we are seeing today. Just 50 years ago, newspapers were plentiful in nearly every city and major town. Now, there are some big players in the game of publishing, such as the New York Times that get international readership, but traditional local newspapers are quickly fading into extinction, taking with them the occupation of a journalist.

While the changes in journalism have changed the way the public is informed for the better, these modernized efficiencies have also shaved down the demand for journalists. Why would I go into the profession despite this scary fact? Isn’t the entire point of going to college getting the resources I need to have a successful, high-paying job after graduation? Not for me.

Being from San Francisco, I live in the world’s largest technology bubble. Facebook, Google, Apple and more are headquartered mere miles from my house. Living in this ecosystem of science and technology, many of my friends want to follow suit and are flinging themselves into the STEM fields for college. They want to ride the upswing in technology jobs, ensuring themselves a plush gig after graduation.

While STEM fields are without a doubt extremely important and many people are genuinely interested in them, not everyone is going into the field because they have a passion for it. Many of my friends went away to college to study engineering, computer science or other similar fields, but have no love for wtheir future careers. They chose their majors based on what their parents suggested, or what they think is going to lead them to a desirable social status.

If you start working when you’re 23 and retire when you’re 75, you will have worked for over 50 years. Those years are the prime years of your life—why would you spend them doing something you don’t love? Fifty years is a long time to spend waiting for the weekend. You may have the paycheck to show for it, but not much else.

I chose to go against the grain by doing something I really love. While I am fully aware that I’m going to have to sacrifice some things in my life in order to make ends meet, those are easy compromises to make in order to follow a career path that I genuinely want. I aspire to make a difference in the world by helping inform others about current events. I want to work my way up in the publishing and media world, and see where it takes me. Just because it’s not a high-paying job doesn’t mean that it is an inferior career path.

It’s unsettling having to field questionable glances from people when I tell them that I am a journalism major. We are in one of the most interesting times of media and I get to be a part of it. I shouldn’t be looked down on for choosing to do something I love for the rest of my life, and neither should you. Only you can choose your major—don’t be afraid to do it on your own terms.

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