Success Stories

Lindsey Payne
Vet Science Program

Choosing a Major

Choosing a major is a decision that is a declaration of academic purpose, entry into fellowship with a distinctive group of professors and students, and defines
who you are becoming professionally. The process of choosing a major varies with each person and may occur at differing times. There are, however, some guiding principles that can help you along the way.

Career Exploration

Once you have narrowed your choices of careers that have the greatest potential, you can trust your own direct experience to guide you. The Career Center has ample opportunities and resources for you to explore, experience, and “try on” potential careers, including information interviews (meeting with professionals in careers that interest you), volunteering, part-time jobs, summer jobs, and internships.

Exploring Majors

Once you have narrowed your career options you can more fully explore majors that are most interesting to you. A great way to begin is by scheduling a meeting with the chair or an academic advisor of the departments that are most interesting to you.

By meeting with an academic advisor in a major of interest to you, you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions about the major, the department and the faculty. Moreover, the academic advisor that you meet could be assigned to you on the long term.

Consider taking courses that are interesting to you. By choosing general education courses carefully, you can gain insight into majors that may prove to be the one for you.

Okay, it isn’t pleasure reading, but reviewing the HSU catalog is an absolute must. In it you can find specific information on majors and minors offered at HSU including specific courses and academic requirements. Near the end of the catalog are individual course descriptions and background information on professors. Obviously, the catalog contains much, much more and it behooves you to keep a copy near as you will make reference to it time and again throughout your academic studies at HSU.

Decision-Making

People make decisions in different ways—and in their own time. Your choices may not come in “ah-ha moments”, a revelation or even an inspiration. But then again, maybe it will. Some people trust their own direct experience; others are most comfortable in extensive research, while others trust their intuitions or instincts. The process of choosing a major is not a “yellow brick road,” but rather a path of your choosing that has a clear direction, but without a definitive destination.

What is needed, at some point in time, is to commit to a direction—a course of action. Goethe, the renowned German writer and philosopher, characterized it this way:

“Until one is committed there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.”

Declaring a Major

When you have decided on a new major you will need to pick up a Major/Advisor Change form from the department office or the Advising Office (Student Business Services Building 295, http://www.humboldt.edu/advise/). The Advising Office is a campus resource that offers a number of important services to students. Undeclared students will find assistance with academic advising (including a special academic advisor assigned to you,) assistance in how to make an educational plan and suggest ways that you can meet with department chairs, faculty or simply to take courses in majors that are of special interest to you.

When the form is completed and submitted back to the Advising Center, the change will be made in the campus student database and a faculty member from that department will be assigned to serve as your academic advisor. Congratulations! You have chosen a major!

By gaining a true understanding on who you are, conducting research into the most promising possibilities, trusting your own experiences, using your best judgment and making a meaningful commitment to the decision, you have become the planner, and architect of your life.