5 ways to find your purpose before choosing your major

5 ways to find your purpose before choosing your major


When you were rushing through high school, the main task was trying to figure out what you could do to get into the best college possible. It was rather clear what you had to do — a lot of work, classes and running around. Working harder at school, SAT prep, volunteering, athletics and writing essays made your life very busy as you tried to fill in all of the blanks for what you had to do to get into college.

Now that you’re received college acceptances, you have a rainbow of possible majors in front of you. Can’t decide on which major to choose? The question you should think about is this — what is your purpose? Finding your purpose is a very different process from the one you’ve been used to in high school. It requires taking time to think, reflect and acknowledge your feelings about what you like or dislike. It means slowing down, doing less and reflecting more. Here are five things you can do to help you figure out your purpose before choosing your major.

1. To find your purpose, take time to reflect on what brings you the most joy and fulfillment in life.

What do you enjoy doing? Do you love being around kids? Writing? Learning about science? Often, clues are hidden in your past. Did you spend hours in front of Microsoft Paint as a child? Did you turn your stuffed animals into faux-pupils in your very own classroom? If you can’t remember, ask your parents!

2. Consider your unique skill set and think about what aspects of high school best utilized them.

Discovering your unique skill set means recognizing those things that you find easy or enjoyable to do. Is math really easy for you? Do you find debate invigorating? Do you love working in groups? Leading groups? Think about the things that came naturally to you in high school and try to figure out why you enjoyed them the most.

3. Consider which field of study is most conducive to you being in a state of flow or in the zone.

A state of flow and the zone are terms used in psychology that describe having a feeling of energized focus as you are fully enjoying and immersed in your work. It’s the feeling of being happy while doing something educational. Have you ever felt that way while working on a project? When? What were you doing? This is a huge key to finding your interests.

4. Take a major tour.

Just as you may have once toured your prospective colleges, tour the different majors at your current university and ask questions. Look at the course offerings. Are there any courses in certain majors that you would love to take? Does a particular department have special programs, study abroad opportunities, internships or opportunities to participate in competitions or community service work? Look for a program that fits you and your interests.

5. Ensure that passion — not duty — drives your purpose.

Life is too short to spend your time studying or working towards something that you’re not passionate about. Make sure your purpose is based on passion and conviction, not just what you think is the most practical. Be willing to take risks. As you get further in your studies and your career, it gets harder to change course.


Finding out what your passion is can be a great exercise in self-discovery. The time spent figuring out your major, your interests and your strengths will serve you well for the rest of your life. Try it — take some time this week to hunt for your purpose!