If you haven’t decided your major, don’t know where to start or just need an extra credit hour, you’re in luck. To help its students decide which major they should choose, Troy offers a 1-credit hour course called “Major Exploration and Planning.”
Emily Reiss, a career counselor on campus, has been teaching the class for the past five semesters.
“The goal of (the class) is to help students explore different majors that Troy University offers and the careers that go along with it,” Reiss said.
Reiss explained that the class is very hands on and practical. While the first half of the semester is spent doing several career assessments and self-assessments, the rest of the semester is spent looking at majors that Troy offers, talking to advisers in those departments and going out to the career field of the student’s choice and interviewing a professional in something they are interested in.
“We are really looking at their values, their interests, their personalities and their skills and how those relate to the process of choosing their major,” Reiss said.
The class is a good fit for freshmen and sophomores who need help figuring out a major.
“A lot of our undeclared students will take it just because they don’t know what to major in, but we also have students that are in a major and they want to make sure it’s the right fit or they really want to explore other majors,” Reiss said.
Lia DiGuglielmo, a freshman undeclared major from Birmingham who is currently enrolled in the course, said the class exceeded her initial expectations, and it helped her narrow her choice of major down to three options.
“Honestly, I thought the class was going to be a waste of my time and that I wouldn’t actually find a major out of it, but I was very wrong,” DiGuglielmo said. “I would have never been able to figure out what major I would want and love without this class.
“I was utterly surprised at how accurate all of the tests and surveys turned out to be and how much they actually helped me figure out my major. The class has helped in really seeing where my strengths and weaknesses lie and seeing where my skills, values and personalities lead me.”
Reiss said the class can be stressful at times since choosing a career is a big deal, and the students feel pressured to choose right when they join the class. However, by the end of the semester, the stress level goes down because they have been able to explore and have the resources to keep exploring what they need to.
“Through the class, (the students) really love the assessments and like being able to learn more about themselves and have that ‘click’ moment of, ‘Oh that’s why I’m the way that I am,’” Reiss said. “It’s really cool because usually half of the kids really have found a major that they are interested in and declared it by the end of the class, and the rest of them have at least two options in mind.”
Students typically learn about the course through the advisers for undeclared majors and the course catalog.
“I have had to change my major two times, and I would’ve found this class extremely helpful if I had known about it earlier,” said Sparsh Shakya, a sophomore social work major from Kathmandu, Nepal.
Shakya recently learned about the class through a friend and is planning to take the class in the fall.
If a student is in doubt about what major to pick, Reiss suggests scheduling an appointment to see the career counselors in Career Services, located in Eldridge Hall. She explained that taking the class can help students even further.
“There are a lot of options if you want to explore a major,” Reiss said. “You can come see me for 30 minutes, and we can talk about things, but I think there is a big benefit in having a professor hands-on with you the whole semester being able to provide you guidance that I can’t just give in a 30-minute session that might be better than just a Google search.”
“I know it helped me and, although it may not help others, I do believe it truly can if you put in the work into finding out what it is you want to do with your life,” DiGuglielmo said.