The scary decision of college major

Does your teen have no freaking idea of what they want to do after high school?

I had this question recently. It reminded me of the look of shear terror in my son's eyes when it was time to decide on a college major. You see, most teens think they are making a lifetime decision at the ripe old age of 17 or 18. Not so. And if we explain it to them it will take a lot of the stress off of making the decision.

When I saw the expression on my son's face, I immediately said to him, "Get in the car, we're going out for coffee." On the drive to IHOPS, it was late at night, I asked my son if he knew all the jobs and employers his dad had worked for since the age of 20. Of course he didn't. (Most kids and teens pay no attention to that. They have a roof over their head and food to eat. They're good to go.) I told my son all the lateral moves within companies and the different companies his dad had worked for. "You won't be sitting in a cubicle for 40 years. Most employers will see the good work you are doing and begin moving you up into management or to another area of the company to learn different skills."

"Your job right now is to decide what you like to do NOW. Not what you want to do in 20 years."

My son was in a pre-professional music school for voice. (Kid sings like Frank Sinatra!) I also explained that he doesn't have to give up singing for a job that pays the bills. He can do both. We followed an orchestra and I had recently learned that most of the orchestra members were engineers by day, orchestra members by night. That takes a lot of weight off.

In the end my son majored in mechanical engineering, and after being in college a few years, added an aerospace engineering minor. I'm not going to say 'most' college students change majors, but it is a lot. That's one reason to attend a college or university with a lot of options. At least if they change college major they likely won't loose much in the way of credit hours.

Does your teen have a direction for their post high school future?


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