Thursday, February 18, 1999
Houston, Texas
Volume 64, Issue 96

Moeller on Caowboys, Nazia and Love

Staff Editorial

Editorial Cartoon

About the Cougar

What's a major and how do I get one?

Christian Backstrom
Guest Columnist

What is a major? Webster's Dictionary defines the word major as "a subject of academic study chosen as a field of specialization." For those of you who have narrowed in on a "field of specialization," I applaud you.

You are in control of your life. You have found the straight and narrow.

Some of us remain totally clueless. We begin to ponder the meaning of life and continue to wonder what we are going to be when we grow up.

Some of us aspired to be president of the United States or a White House intern, and some of us dreamed of becoming Mike Tyson or Tonya Harding. When each of those professions got a bad rap, we were back to square one.

As of right now, I am a professional college student whose full-time job consists of going to class and planning my weekends. Unfortunately, the pay isn't very good.

I once got some advice from an all-knowing adult who said that when picking a major you should think of something you enjoy doing now without pay, and turn it into a money-making scheme.

That's all fine and good if you enjoy science or math, but what about those of us who enjoy something that would never make us enough money to live on? Do we sacrifice personal gratification for a mansion on a hill and a sports car in the driveway?

Most of us would answer yes. I would too, if only I could think of a major that would put me on the hill.

At 18 years old, we were thrust from the comfort of the locker-lined halls of high school into the ever-changing college scene where GPAs and MBAs are as important as the ABCs.

It was then, at the tender age of 18, when the only things we could think about were getting away from our hometown and away from the watchful eyes of our parents, we were forced to decide the courses our lives would take.

How could we possibly know what we wanted to do for the next 40 years? If we decided our fates hastily, would we end up looking back in retrospect at our lives, wishing we had become underwater basket weavers instead of college professors?

College is the experience of our lives, and it is here that we come to realize who we really are to ourselves and to the people around us.

So what if it takes four or five years to realize that we don't know how to turn on a computer, much less understand how it works? So we cross computer science off the list.

We have time to try different things, to learn what we're good at and laugh at what we're not. Besides, once you get out of college, it's off to the real world.

I know that I'm going to continue to try different avenues until I find my niche in life. I consider myself as shopping for a major, comparing prices of generic and brand name job opportunities and stocking up on courses of necessity.

I just hope I graduate before I exhaust the resources of my tuition or run out of weekend activities.

For those of us lost in the supermarket aisle of choices, I say one thing: Try to check out before the line gets too long.

At the rate I'm going, I don't think you'll see me in the express lane.

Backstrom is a University Studies/pre-business administration student.

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