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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Saturday, December 9, 2023

Tufts reimagines career planning with new Majors Month event series

Goddard Chapel, home to the University Chaplaincy, is pictured on Oct. 21.

Majors Month, a new series coordinated by the Career Center, University Chaplaincy, academic advisors and Tisch Library to aid undergraduates in their search to choose a major, started on Oct. 17. The series will run from Oct. 17 to Nov. 16, featuring events ranging from an alumni panel on unique major choices to an academic inquiry panel on robots and AI. 

While previous events centered on choosing a major have been held closer to the major declaration deadlines — March 1 for sophomore Arts and Sciences students and Feb. 15 for first-year Engineering students — administrators wanted to make a point of starting the conversation earlier this year. Senior Academic Advisor Ericka Miranda highlighted the benefits of this. 

“For A&S students, it means first-years can start exploring the 70+ majors and minors offered in our school in a structured and supportive way, while our sophomores get more targeted support focused on finding an advisor and declaring a primary major,” Miranda wrote in an email to the Daily. “For Engineering students, the fall timing means they have more opportunity to engage with departments and campus offices in making their major declaration decision earlier on.”

Sheryl Rosenberg, associate director at the Career Center, pointed out that this timing allows Majors Month to serve not only undeclared underclassmen but also upperclassmen who have already declared a major.

“While first years are eager to start the conversation, I actually have more conversations with seniors about their major than I do with first years, and they go something like this: ‘I’m a (blank) major, what can I do with that?’” Rosenberg wrote in an email to the Daily.

Majors Month notably includes several events that are not centered around choosing a major but around moving forward in an already chosen field of study. These include focused academic inquiry panels and research lectures such as “Narrowing Your Research Topic” and “Art Research for Undergrads.” 

While Tufts has held major selection events in the past, Majors Month aims to broaden those conversations by involving additional resources on campus that may serve as support systems for students looking for career guidance, according to Miranda. 

The University Chaplaincy, for instance, offers emotional and spiritual support to students.

 “The University Chaplaincy is never trying 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 multiple resources as they approach their decisions and emphasized the wide array of career support that Majors Month provides.   

 “It’s a conversation between students, staff, and faculty, and it’s not limited to one time or one place,” Rosenberg wrote. “We know your decision-making process isn’t singular or linear, so why should your exploration be?”

Students can expect to see a variety of opportunities to discuss majors and career paths over the course of the month.

 “We’re most excited about the alumni panel called “You Majored in What!?” which featured three Tufts alumni talking about how they chose their major, and what it meant for them along their path since graduation,” Rosenberg wrote.

The panel, held on Oct. 26, consisted of a women and gender studies major who became a public health professional, a former biology student who went into investment banking and a mechanical engineering major who has since started a clothing line.

 Meanwhile, Bond described the Academic Inquiry panels as a standout.

 “The inquiry panels – like Living Machines: Robots, AI, and the Question of the Human - show you how people with various skill sets like English, Biology, and Computer Science, approach the same problem,” Bond wrote.

  Miranda thinks students can find a lot of value in the major fairs.  

“The Arts & Sciences and Engineering Majors Fairs … are the keystone events of Majors Month and allow students a chance to connect in person with the departments they’re most interested in,” Miranda wrote. “Students can stop by the fair to talk with faculty and staff from various departments and ask questions about major requirements, Spring 2023 courses, major advising, and much more.”

She also recommends the Chaplaincy-hosted event, “Majorly Confused? Finding Your Own Wisdom for Choosing a Major,” which offers students 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 making students aware of the ample resources available to help them through the process while also reminding them that no major decision will determine the course of their career. 

 “There’s a narrative out there about your major defining you, or at least setting the limits for your future plans and work opportunities,” Rosenberg wrote. “We want to bust that myth, … celebrate your exploration, and help you make meaningful connections between who you are, what you’re interested in, what you value, and the interesting frameworks for thought that you’re exposed to through the diverse academic offerings at Tufts.”