Blog of the Peer Advising Leadership Program, College of Natural Resources, UC Berkeley

April 20, 2007 8:44 AM

On Picking My Major

It is difficult as a high school student to select one's major out of hundreds when you come to the online page where titled "Major." How do you do it? For one, there are many resources one could take advantage of at the library or the bookstore that tells you "how to pick your major" or which is "the best major for you." Personally, I have never read these books--not only are they a bit pricy, but they weigh a ton and are usually larger than my chemistry textbook.

However, upon retrospect, I have found that flipping through one while browsing the bookstore is handy. I never found the urge to look through one while I was in high school though. Perhaps this was because as a freshman, my high school required that we choose one of two tracks: business or health. I naturally floated toward health, as this was the side I was interested in. And then, it took me about ten minutes to decide my major at each of the UCs I applied to. I checked off some kind of biology--microbiology, human biology, biological sciences--I didn't really know the differences. When I came to Berkeley, I saw something cool called Molecular Environmental Biology. I thought, hm, I never heard of that before...and it sounds pretty awesome since it has to do with the environment, an aspect of my major I know love. There was a bonus: it offered a B.S. degree. That pretty much did it for me, and the rest was history.

Now, I'm not saying you shouldn't take your time to read into the description of your major, or even your curriculum. It is hard as a high school student to understand what the classes you will have to take in four to five years mean, but it is good to get a general feel of whether this would be a subject you would want to study for four years. The College of Natural Resources has such a wide breadth of majors and topics you could study that I feel I am more than satisfied with my choice. I think MEB is the best kept secret, because someone could choose to be pre-vet, pre-med, or just be gungho about the environment. You could specialize in biodiversity, environmental and human health, insects, ecology, or microbiology. I wish I had the time to do more than one specialty, because there are so many different classes I want to take here while I'm at Cal!

One complaint I commonly hear from those deciding between MCB and MEB is that "there are too many classes required to take" as an MEB major. I don't believe that this is true. I am currently a few classes away from being done with my upper division curriculum, and am still taking classes that have nothing to do with my area of study that draw my interest. With careful planning, one could even double major in MEB and another area of study. I advise to make use of your faculty and major advisors here at CNR, as they are extremely helpful in helping to determine your schedules here at Cal.

Adrienne Doi | Permalink | Comment on this article | Comments (0)

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