Majors Month, a new series coordinated by the Career Center, University Chaplaincy, Faculty Advisors and the Tisch Library to help undergraduates in their search for choosing a major, began October 17. The series will run from October 17 to November 16. featuring events ranging from an alumni panel on unique major picks to a college survey panel on robots and AI.
While previous events focused on choosing a major have been held closer to major reporting deadlines – March 1 for sophomores in arts and sciences and February 15 for first-year engineering students — the directors wanted to make it a point to start the conversation earlier this year. Senior Academic Advisor Ericka Miranda highlighted the benefits.
“For A&S students, this means that first years can begin to explore the more than 70 majors and minors offered at our school in a structured and supportive way, while our second year students benefit from more focused support focused on search for a counselor and declaration of a primary major,” Miranda wrote in an email to The Daily. “For engineering students, the fall schedule means they have more opportunities to engage with campus departments and offices to make their major announcement decision sooner.”
Sheryl Rosenberg, associate director of the Career Center, pointed out that this schedule allows Majors Month to serve not only undeclared underclasses, but also upper classes who have already declared a major.
“While freshmen are eager to start the conversation, I actually have more conversations with seniors about their major than with freshmen, and they say something like, ‘I’m a major. (blank), what can I do with it? ‘” Rosenberg wrote in an email to The Daily.
Majors Month notably includes several events that are not centered on choosing a major but on advancing in a field of study already chosen. These include targeted academic inquiry panels and research conferences such as “Narrowing Your Research Topic” and “Artistic Research for Undergraduates”.
While Tufts has hosted important selection events in the past, Majors Month aims to expand those conversations by involving additional on-campus resources that can serve as support systems forr students seeking career guidance, according to Miranda.
University chaplaincy, for example, provides emotional and spiritual support to students.
“University chaplaincy never tries to give you answers or make you think anything,” program manager Nora Bond wrote in an email to The Daily. “We are here for your big life questions first and foremost.”
Rosenberg encouraged students to use several resources as they approach their decisions and highlighted the wide range of career support provided by Majors Month.
“It’s a conversation between students, staff, and faculty, and it’s not limited to one time or place,” Rosenberg wrote. “We know that your decision-making process is neither singular nor linear, so why should your exploration be?”
Students can expect to see a variety of opportunities to discuss majors and career paths during the course of the month.
“We are very excited about the alumni panel titled ‘You majored in What!?” which featured three former Tufts students explaining how they chose their major and what it meant to them on their journey since graduation,” Rosenberg wrote.
The panel, held on October 26, included a women’s and gender studies student turned public health professional, a former biology student who got into investment banking, and of a mechanical engineering student who has since launched a clothing line.
Meanwhile, Bond described the academic inquiry panels as remarkable.
“Investigative panels — like Living Machines: Robots, AI, and the Human Question — show you how people with varying skills like English, biology, and computer science tackle the same problem,” wrote Jump.
Miranda thinks students can find a lot of value at big fairs.
“Arts and Science and Engineering Fairs are the flagship events of Majors Month and allow students to connect in person with the departments that interest them most,” Miranda wrote. “Students can stop by the lounge to chat with faculty and staff from various departments and ask questions about major requirements, spring 2023 classes, major tips, and more.”
She also recommends the Chaplaincy event, “Majorly Confused? Finding Your Own Wisdom for Choosing a Major,” which provides students with opportunities for personal discussion and reflection with members of the chaplaincy and advising teams.
Choosing a major is a stressful decision. Majors Month aims to alleviate some of that stress by informing students of the many resources available to help them through the process, while reminding them that no major decision will determine the course of their career.
“There’s a narrative out there about your major that defines you, or at least sets the boundaries for your future plans and work opportunities,” Rosenberg wrote. “We want to bust this myth, … celebrate your exploration and help you make meaningful connections between who you are, what interests you, what you value, and the interesting frames of thought you are exposed to through the various academic offerings at Tufts.