The Majors For Success

In contemporary society, certain majors are associated with success, as many popular articles make the claim that “X majors can lead to a successful future.” Because of these somewhat inaccurate online articles, there are stigmas linked with certain majors.

While it may be true that certain majors are linked to high-paying jobs, your major does not determine what kind of job you will get, and your future success should not be determined by your major. A high-paying job does not mean success unless you consider people who have high paying jobs to be successful.

First off, many high school and some undergraduate students have this perception that if Sally is a biological sciences major she will be successful because she is in the healthcare field, and if Matthew is a business administration major then he will be in business and be successful.

For those interested in medical school or pre-health graduate school, you do not need to be a biological science major or even a science major for that matter. In fact, medical schools are also interested in people who have interests other than the sciences because they want to create a well-rounded physician. It just happens to be that most biological science majors are pre-med because that is their main interest.

Let me just note that success is derived from what you want to do with your knowledge. There may be already prewritten “formulas” for the high-paying jobs if that is what you are interested in. Being a biological science major does not mean that you are guaranteed that high-paying job in healthcare, so do what you want to do because you love to do it. I hope that you were not swayed into a certain major because you read an online article saying that in order to be successful you had to have a select major.

When I committed to UC Irvine, the first thing that my relatives and friends asked was: “What major are you?” When I told them biological sciences, they instantly assumed that I wanted to be in healthcare and wished me luck on the long road set ahead for me. While it is true that I do want to be involved in healthcare, the main point is that whether I am a biological science major or a political science major, shouldn’t I have been wished luck either way?

The potential of an individual should not be based upon what the individual is studying, but what the individual plans to do with that knowledge. Although my main goal is to become a physician, I don’t care about the money I could potentially get because I want to provide inexpensive healthcare to underserved areas. Just because I won’t be making as much money, will that make me unsuccessful? No, it does not!

Let me just make note of it again: High-paying jobs do not equal success.

While articles may be true in explaining that if certain people follow a certain major to get certain job because it pays a lofty amount of money, what is not weighed in are the interests and abilities of an individual. I would first like to blatantly say that each individual has natural abilities that fit with a certain occupation (note: I didn’t put the word major in this sentence at all). The success of an individual is not based on the major but on the achievement one does with the knowledge gained.

This goes to show that online articles portray that certain majors are better to pursue because they do lead to success, but this is only true in some cases.

One person I find to be successful is Marcos. This past Spring Break, I embarked to Costa Rica with the 2014 Costa Rica Program, and our tour guide was Marcos. Although he did not have a major because he did not go to college, he is almost 30 years old and he owns a large sustainable farm, is incredibly knowledgeable about the environment and sustainability, and is a carpenter who pretty much built an open aired sustainable living space with the help of volunteers. The few words I have said about him are literally just a few facts of him. I consider him successful, and he never went to college, let alone had a major.

From my experience, success of an individual comes from the knowledge of an individual because success is not linked to certain majors but to ambition of an individual who want to change the world with their interests and passion; that is the real key to success.


Shannon Lee is a first-year biological sciences major. She can be reached at