Do Not Major in What You Are Interested In

While this is a “commanding title” for an essay, I do not necessarily mean it as such. As with everything I write, do not take anything as a recipe or advice. I am likely wrong and you should question everything I say. These are just my thoughts around thinking about how and where to invest your time in college. 

The purpose of this essay is to dispel a myth. The myth is that everyone should major in what they are interested in. I do not think that is necessarily sound in the plentiful case where taking exams and following a course curriculum is not necessarily the best way to explore a curiosity. 

If I am interested in accounting, or even think I may be, why should I wait for a curriculum to allow me to explore my interest.

“I will get to that when I am a junior.”

I think that is a bad way of exploring interests. 

Another reason is that who is to say a few exams, essays, and course lectures are the best way to learn about what you are interested in. I would bet, for many subjects, that is not true. 

So what should you think about when deciding a major? 

I wrote this essay a while back…

I actually now disagree with a lot of what I wrote there. 

I think there is value in majoring in something completely useless and easy. I would not necessarily do it, but it does fit into others’ world views.

Personally, I think about optimizing for signal and learning how to learn. 

Signal so you can have conversations you want to have and learning how to learn and focus so you can unlock compounding value in the future. 

Also published on Medium.