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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Wine bar on 2200 Penn opens doors
By Ella Mitchell, Contributing News Editor • June 14, 2024

The major dilemma

Many GW students stress over obtaining a degree in the major that will help them find the perfect career. But professors said the decision should be based on what subject students find most interesting and where they excel.

After spending countless hours discussing possible majors with advisers, many students often remain unsure about declaring. But, GW professors and advisers said they do not understand what all the fuss is about.

“I think undergraduates worry too much about their major choice,” journalism professor Albert May said. “They think they have to make all their decisions about their life today.”

May, who heads GW’s journalism department, said he knows many students with multiple majors and minors. In the working world, he said, the number of major and minors is not all that important.

There are many things to keep in mind when choosing a major, including a student’s interests and skills.

“Undergrad is a great time to find out where your interests are,” creative writing professor Wendy Kaufman said.

Kaufman advises students to take a variety of elective courses when deciding on a major.

Kaufman said students should be careful to allow other considerations than simply a career path when deciding what to study. It is important to keep in mind what students love to do, she said.

Mack Brooks, a professional undergraduate academic advisor, said all departments teach the general knowledge many employers seek.

“Employers are not always looking for people with specialized skills,” Brooks said “Most employers are looking for people who are capable of learning, working in teams and who are comfortable with technology.”

For future doctors, majoring in chemistry or biology is not necessary, provided they complete the pre-med requirements, Brooks said.

“It’s actually better if they major in something they like, in case they don’t get into medical school,” Brooks said.

Other careers such as engineering do depend on a student’s undergraduate major. These careers rely on students learning skills specific to one occupation.

Brooks said experience from internships and summer jobs is often more important than a student’s study concentration.

While advisers said undergraduates often share a different view about the importance of picking the right major, some students said they major in subjects that are interesting and leave them plenty of options.

“I want to do what I’m interested in for a career,” said junior Charles Seeley.

But Seeley said his decision was easy, because he always had a rough idea about what he wanted to do.

“Politics has a wider range than history,” said junior James Roochove.

Choosing to study political science came from his interest in history and desire to have a career other than teaching or working in a museum.

Seeley and Roochove said they realize by studying political science they will never become doctors or engineers, they do not feel limited in their career prospects.

Junior Beth Gelman said she chose to major in information systems and human resources because she found the classes interesting and wants a lucrative career.

“It is important to consider both career and what interests you,” Gelman said.

For students who already declared their major and are unhappy with their choice, Brooks said not to worry.

“Its not the end of the world,” Brooks said. “In fact, it may be the beginning of the world for students to find a new subject that interests them.”

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