General Question

amazingme's avatar

What should I major in/ what should I do with my life?

Asked by amazingme (1860points) April 23rd, 2010

I am 17 and I have no clue what I want to do for college or the rest of my life. I am a junior, almost senior and I have played the cello for the last 8 years. However, I don’t really feel that I would enjoy doing something that involved cello as my career. I would love to do music, but I am not sure what field of music. Also, I love photography (I am in photo 2 at my high school). I also really love history and am currently in IB English.
What do you think I should do? Any recommendations? This situation along with other stressful situations really stress me out. So, your help would be amazing. Thanks!!

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14 Answers

Justnice's avatar

You mentioned a lot of things. You need to narrow it down a little. Look deep in your heart and figure out which one of these things you love the most. Do whatever makes you happy. But you don’t have to decide right away. You still have a few years to figure it out. You could just go to college as an undecided major

rangerr's avatar

We can’t tell you what you want to do.
Most of us didn’t know what we wanted to do when we were your age.
Most of us still don’t know what we want to do.

I understand being stressed, because I was freaking out for my entire senior year.
I ended up at community college taking general classes until I realized what I wanted to do.

janbb's avatar

It’s awfully early to think you have to decide what you want to do with your life. Sounds like you’ve got a few strong interests; that’s good. Why not look for a good liberal arts college with a strong music department (Oberlin comes to mind), take some college courses and see what you discover about yourself along the way? My older son went to college thinking he would be an English major, got turned on by computer science, and is now finishing up a PhD in it. Be excited by what you are learning and follow where it leads you.

Coloma's avatar

Never fear!

‘purpose’ changes, may times over. Just pick what appeals to you now and rememebr that nothing is forever!

You will change many times over in the next 40 years…go with the flow and do not EVER feel you HAVE to stick with anything beyond it’s shelf life.

Not a job, not a relationship.

I am not advocating reckless stupidity, I AM advocating a basic life truth…things change…be adaptable. Thats all.

I am 50 and have changed my life course several times over.

Nothing is static, don’t believe those that tell you it’s true. :-)

CyanoticWasp's avatar

I think you should not look at “the rest of my life” (unless you’re like stuck on a train track, for example, and the train is bearing down at high speed… that sort of thing). You’re going to live a long time (or at least you should plan that way) and have chances to do a lot of different things (most likely, anyway). So don’t try to map out “the rest of your life” at the age of 17. It’s daunting, somewhat depressing and bleak (unless you have some really cool plans—and it’s okay that you don’t!).

So… what would you like to study in school? That solves the problem of “major”. (This whole major / minor thing is really for the birds, anyway, I think. But I’m not even a colledge gradjuate, so whadda I know?) Learn things that interest you… that’s always worthwhile, and it leads to other things that will interest you.

When (if) you graduate from college with a degree (or quit like I did), then decide on “career”. And stop this “rest of my life” thing. That applies to the family you start… that is certainly worth agonizing over! ... but jobs come and go. Find work that interests you and challenges you (or just work that pays well, if you have other interests outside of work, and just need food on the table, etc.), and try to manage like four or five years at a time.

I would give some thought to long-term planning in investments, however. Let your money work its ass off. You’re here to enjoy yourself and do some good things. Enjoy yourself. Do some good things. Put your money to work.

And welcome to Fluther, by the way.

amazingme's avatar

Thanks guys, I really appreciate everyones advice! It’s really helpful. I think I now understand that my problem is ‘rest of my life’. Thanks.

Coloma's avatar


Brilliant!’ve got it…there is NO rest of your life..there is only now.

By it’s very nature life is change..seasons….what you want in spring is not what you may want in winter.

Learn this now…do not be a slave to societal protocol my dear young friend!

janbb's avatar

Agree with @Coloma – I have lived many lives and done many different things in my span of years. The important thing is to stay awake and alive, to follow your bliss – as Joseph Campbell says, and to find companionship along the way. Good luck – and with a moniker like @amazingme, I think you’re on your way!

Coloma's avatar


Damn..are we old or what?—lol

zophu's avatar

Don’t get rushed into a societal slot. Failure is scary, but not as dangerous as entrapping success. Better to be poor on an open horizon than well-paid and trapped in a box.

lilikoi's avatar

You love cello, photography, history, and English. That’s good. How do you know you love them? Because you’ve had a chance to experience them and you discovered you liked them. What about the millions of other things you haven’t experienced yet? Is there something that you might love even more than these things, but you just don’t know it yet?

You can have all of these things as hobbies, or you can choose to turn one or a combination of them into a career. It is an important distinction. Within each “category”, there are many different paths. You could play the cello or photograph them, be a war photojournalist or study old photos, news reporter or historical fiction novelist…

You can choose to feel your way through this process, or you can choose to take a more analytical approach. At least for me, there is a subconscious reason certain professions appeal to me more than others. I have inherent preferences that lead to me liking and disliking different jobs. Once I understood why I prefer A to B, I became more aware of what I need from a job to be happy, and where I should be looking became much more apparent.

Some questions to ask yourself (that I’ve found helpful in my own path to self discovery) include:

—Do you prefer working with ideas, things, or people?
—Where do you want to live? Urban/suburbs/rural? Do you want to work in a specific geographical area?
—What kind of working environment do you prefer? Indoors/outdoors? At a desk? In front of people? Traveling constantly? On rooftops?
—Do you want to provide a service or be a producer of goods?
—How much decision making will your job involve? All day? Occasionally? What kinds of problems/issues? What kinds of decisions?
—When you show up to work for the day, will you know what to expect? What level of predictability do you prefer?
—How much variety? Do you prefer continuously new projects or steady routine?
—How much free time is necessary for hobbies, family, etc?
—How important is job security?
—How important is portability? (e.g. a nurse is highly portable)
—How competitive do you need your job to be?
—Future demand?
—Difficulty in getting into the field in the first place – how much difficulty are you willing to face?
—What careers would you be most proud to be engaged in?
—How would you like to be perceived by yourself and others w/ regards to your work?
—How much power and status, recognition, and fame?
—Social impact?

These are all questions Nicholas Lore poses in his book The Pathfinder. He wrote another book specifically for young people (under 30) that may be more appealing to you. They are probably at your local library. I recommend checking them out.

TexasDude's avatar

Engineering is apparently the key to fame, fortune, and eternal salvation. That’s what just about everyone has told me, at least: the poor, lowly history major.

Response moderated
tadpole's avatar

history is one answer for the undecided career-wise, because you get a degree, it produces qualities in you that prospective employers are keen on (or so they tell you), and you can study it to the end and then decide…if you are interested in history this is an option for you…if you still don’t know do a post grad or masters…it’s one choice you could consider…

if you then knew, you prob would have to take further studies or training for your area of interest, but if at 18 you don’t know why not take a degree purely for the qualification whilst you develop your outlook and interests…its more common than you think not to have much of an idea when it comes to careers…and there are lots subjects you could try to study…you mentioned history…

another option is take a year out…earn money and/or travel or whatever, then study or see if something pops up…

sounds like you do have a couple of interests that might develop into answers…this gives you a headstart over some!

i understand the stress you feel…it is such a big decision, esp at that age, when everybody wants to know your plans and you feel it is defining who you are in such a big way…

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