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Alumni Posts

Choosing a Major

by Alumni Posts on February 21, 2012

in Academics,Career Paths

Howdy, readers!

I wanted to write a brief post about last week’s blog topic, choosing a major.

I had first approached this problem from the “Well, what subject do you like best in school?” angle, and that had initially led me to history.  I figured I could teach high school with it, and all would be well.  That was the plan – until I took “Intro to Classroom Teaching.”  I realized that as much as I like to think of myself as a patient person, I simply don’t have the attention span being a teacher requires.  That helped me realize I need a job that can keep me on my feet and moving around.

Up to this point, I had been working in the IT department at my high school (Rosati-Kain, if you’re curious).  When people asked where I worked, I would tell them and then bashfully add, “It doesn’t even feel like a job.” And I was serious. At first, I thought it didn’t feel like a job because I really liked my co-workers and former teachers, and I felt comfortable there, which certainly wouldn’t happen in my limited perception of a job. After failing at being a teacher, though, I rethought things. I realized that my part-time job doesn’t feel like a job because I genuinely enjoy what I do when I’m at work – fixing printers, crawling under desks to plug Ethernet cables back into their switches, rearranging wires in the server cabinet, installing wireless access points here and there, maintaining existing equipment, I could go on and on. The variety of tasks that I get presented with every day I go in keeps me interested and there’s a huge element of challenge that comes with the job.

So, to figure out what I need to major in in order to have get a job in an IT department, I looked at job-openings results on different Saint Louis companies’ websites to see what institutions look at when they’re hiring IT people. Generally, it’s some kind of computer-science or information-management degree, and I decided to go with computer science. I’m getting into some upper level classes now, and I really like what I’m learning.

My advice: Experiment to figure out what you like and what you don’t like. I was lucky enough to have taken that teacher course relatively early on in my time at Fontbonne, and it was a real wake-up call that I was headed in the wrong direction by pursuing teaching as a career. Experimenting as a worker in the IT department at my high school was a another message, one that helped me know I’m on the path to what I think will be an enjoyable career.

So, with that, I wish you good luck in picking a major!

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Students writing for Real Life at Fontbonne are paid a small fee for each post by the university.