College Seniors Worried They Chose the Wrong Major


Omesha Edwards , Writer

The last year of college is exciting for most students as they await and prepare for graduation – taking graduation pictures, buying class rings, and counting down the days until the end. However, it is not the truth for everyone and there are, in fact, many that are anxious about starting their lives post-college due to regret. For some, regret lies in the majors that they chose.

Uber Bautista, a former John Jay student who recently graduated with a degree in English and another in Criminal Justice, knew as soon as he started college that he wanted to major in the latter. However, Criminal Justice is no longer the field that he sees himself working within anymore.

Before deciding to go to graduate school for communications and media studies, Uber Bautista relied more so on his Criminal Justice major. However, after his job as a paralegal during the first semester of his senior year, he described the experience as “hectic” and “horrific,” and decided that he wanted to change the course of his career.

“I just don’t see myself using the degree,” he said. Nonetheless, although he has spent a lot of time and money on a major that he no longer has any plans to use, he is able to fall back on his English degree. Some students are not so lucky.

A double major is a safer bet because more than likely, the student can make use of at least one of them. But what about the ones who put their all into one major?

Traveon King, a transfer senior student who declared a major in his junior year at John Jay, said that he has no idea what he will be doing with his Criminology degree. He initially planned to join the FBI but faces some uncertainty as graduation is approaching.

“To be honest I’m not sure where I’ll end up with this degree,” King said. As he struggles to make decisions about his career, he has decided to take a break from his academic journey after graduating.

John Jay is known for its focus in both Law and Police studies, with the majority of its students choosing majors like Criminal Justice, Criminology or Forensic Science. However, many of these students begin to find other fields interesting or lose their passion as they advance in college. Ultimately, these students find themselves anxious in their senior year.

Certainly, there are some who came into John Jay knowing what they wanted, went for it, and are happy with their decision – students like Yaniris Rodriguez. Rodriguez declared her Criminology major her freshman year and is now making plans for an internship at a law firm and to go to law school after graduating.

Rodriguez looks forward to the future, believing that her degree will open many doors of opportunity for her, but things don’t always work out so smoothly. Realistically, not all students will know what direction they want to take the first year of college – students like Mohamed Traore.

Traore is a student who made the transfer from John Jay to Brooklyn College at the beginning of his senior year. He declared his Forensic Science major in his sophomore year but transferred because he no longer had any plans for the major.

“I was just thinking about what I want to do in life and I just didn’t see this to be it for me,” he said. “I just didn’t enjoy it.”

Students did not randomly decide in their last semester of college that they did not like their majors anymore, so why didn’t they change it before it was too late? Well, they are saying that by the time they realized, it was already too late.

“I would’ve had to start all over; I had most of my credits by then,” Uber Bautista said.

What it all comes down to is that students prefer to finish college with a major they think will be of no use for them, than to stay in college a little longer, pursuing a degree that they will be happy with. By their sophomore year, they are completing the courses for their major, forgetting the importance of electives.

They make the mistake in thinking that electives are there solely for the purpose of making up your credits to get to the finish line when in actuality, they are also there to help the major deciding process. With a wide variety of courses to choose from, they expand your interests and help you realize your likes, dislikes, skills and maybe even passion, giving you an opportunity to choose the major that works best for you.

Although John Jay is primarily known for its Criminal Justice studies, it’s Liberal Arts majors have dramatically enhanced over the last decade. These majors, namely English, Philosophy, and Global History have many courses within them, giving students various options that appeal to their interests. Just like in the case of Uber Bautista, who declared his English degree in his sophomore year, many students find themselves gravitating to these majors.

Manuel Wade, a senior student with a major in English and a double minor in Counseling and History is another student who took advantage of these programs. He had plans to transfer from John Jay when he realized that he wanted to take Liberal Arts but took into account that the school was not known for this.

Nonetheless, while taking electives for his minors, he was exposed to different writing intensive courses which he thoroughly enjoyed and soon declared his major as English. Manuel believes that collectively, these courses will help him to be the teacher that he hopes to be. After graduating this spring, he will be teaching middle school while he pursues his master’s degree.

The eagerness to graduate in four years is causing students to leave college with degrees they will never use. If graduating “on time” is important, one must also consider the major they are taking with them when they leave.

Four years is a long time, make it count.