This is not mine, but it is a great free article for High school seniors and parents with older High School/ young college-age students from CPYU Ministries. I recommend it to High Schoolers and Parents. Here is the trackback link. The full article is posted below:
The beginnings of vocation: Deciding on a major
By Derek Melleby
I recently heard a missionary in Africa tell what it was like to buy toothpaste in the United Sates. He stared at 30 options and eventually left the store—with no purchase. He was overwhelmed. All he wanted was clean teeth. What he got was an anxiety attack. Many of us felt like that missionary when we began college facing the academic array of programs and majors.
There’s a small liberal arts college near my house that has about 1,800 students and offers 53 majors and 80 minors/concentrations. Fifty-three majors? Keep in mind: this is a small school! This could be an anxiety attack waiting to happen. No wonder students are often overwhelmed, and many end up switching majors several times until necessity forces the choice. That’s the point of sociologist Barry Schwartz’s insightful book The Paradox of Choice. Schwartz maintains that choice does, in fact, improve the quality of our lives. No question. The problem, he suggests, is that “as the number of choices keeps growing, negative aspects of having a multitude of options begin to appear. As the number of choices grows further, the negatives escalate until we become overloaded. At this point, choice no longer liberates, but debilitates. It might even be said to tyrannize.” It’s a paradox. More choice can sometimes lead to less freedom. The amount of choices we have can be paralyzing.
The major problem
There are different kinds of choices, of course. Choosing a toothpaste isn’t that big a deal. Some grocery stores may even allow you to return it if you are dissatisfied. Schwartz quips, “I think that in modern America, we have far too many options for breakfast cereal and not enough options for president.” Clearly, some choices are more important than others. For instance, choosing a major. Having 53 majors to choose from sounds good on paper, but then you have to actually choose. You have to say “no” to 52 options. How will you make that decision? What
will you decide to study for the next four years? What role will your faith play in this choice? How important is your major compared to the even bigger question of your future career and calling? Deciding on a major can be difficult. I wish I had a magic formula. But, unfortunately, “magic formulas” wasn’t one of the majors offered at the university I attended. (That was a joke.) This isn’t: the first thing you must consider when deciding on a major is why you are going to college in the first place. Most people go to college to get a degree to get a job. Deciding on a major, for them, is directly related to the kind of job they want to get when they
graduate. This puts a lot of pressure on the decision. Let me ease some of that pressure.
First, studies have shown that most graduates are working in career fields that are not directly related to their program of study. I have a degree in political science and work for two faith based non-profit organizations that have little to do with government. I never had a single class on my daily activities, but I think I “use” my major everyday. (More on that later.) Second, for Christians, while career preparation is one aspect of college, it isn’t the
most critical. More importantly, attending college is a gift from God, given to some of His children as a means to increase their serviceability for Him and their neighbors. That’s a mouthful. Cornelius Plantinga Jr. provides a nice summary in his Engaging God’s World: “Your college education is meant to prepare you for prime citizenship in the Kingdom of God … Your calling is to prepare for further calling, and to do so in a Christian community that cares as
much about the kind of person you are becoming as what kind of job you will eventually get, and as much about how you will do your job as about which job you do.”
The major landscape
But you do need to choose. You can’t remain “undecided” forever. College is already expensive enough! To make an informed decision, you should know the spectrum of majors offered at most colleges and universities. On one end of the spectrum, there are highly specialized, job specific majors. Most of what you learn is directly related to the job you will do once you graduate, with very little wiggle room. These majors often come with certifications that need to be completed. Nursing, engineering, accounting and even teaching fall into this category. On the other
end of the spectrum, there are “liberal arts” degrees. History, English, philosophy and political science are a few examples of the liberal arts. The major consists of a broad-based education, which, at its best, is more concerned with critical thinking skills than job-specific skills. I like to call it: “the little bit of everything major.” Finally, there are majors that fall somewhere in the middle on the continuum. A business degree is a good example. While there is some job-specific knowledge acquired, there is still some room to take other courses (electives) to broaden your
This is helpful to know before selecting a major. Here’s the simple question: what kind of education do you want to have? If you are pretty sure you would like to be a nurse, don’t expect too many opportunities to study literature or art history. If you enjoy studying philosophy or religion, majoring in accounting may not be a good fit. You only have so many credits (and years!) to work with and knowing the kinds of classes you can take is an important
question to ask your advisor.
The major decision
I can’t stress this enough: Christians really do need to envision college differently. It’s not enough to simply go through the motions, taking tests, getting grades and receiving degrees like everyone else. Through prayer and conversation with people who know you well, you must always remain open to God’s call and leading. Picking a major may be one of the first times that you truly put your faith in action. Here are some questions to ask when deciding on a major:
First, what interests you? Spiritual growth requires discipline and sacrifice, to be sure (the Bible does speak of denying ourselves), but I don’t think we need to give up or distrust our natural interests. Trust that your passions and interests were given to you by God. The writer of Ecclesiastes seems to suggest that there is something good about “following your heart when you are young.” This idea is also taught in Psalm 37:4: “Delight yourself in the
Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” Be intentional about nurturing your relationship with God, begin to see the world as He sees it, and be attentive to the Spirit as He directs your interests. Maybe you will discover that you are interested in big ideas and how they shape people and society. Philosophy or sociology would make a good major. We need Christians who are able to discern the times and know what God’s people should do
(1 Chronicles 12:32). Perhaps you realize that you have the gift of teaching, and nothing excites you more than helping students learn new things and grow as people. We need good teachers. The good news is that the creator God is interested in all of His creation, including every field of study, and He’s invited us to share His interests! Is there a possible major or future career area that God doesn’t care about? Math? Geology? Physical therapy? Criminal Justice? Sports management? Computer science? Art history? Jesus loves it all, and we may serve happily
in any of these arenas. Second, how will this major increase your serviceability for God and others? This question is much better than the typical response: “What can you do with that major?” Let’s face it, we live in a “me-centered” world and
college is full of “me-centered” majors. Once again, college should be more about the kind of person you are becoming and less about the kind of skills you are gaining. Be sure to continually ask yourself whether or not this field of study is helping you to grow as a person and serve your neighbors more fully.
Third, who have you talked to about choosing a major? You can never have too many conversation partners. Talk with people who know you well. Ask them what they think should be your major. Talk to people who have a degree in the major you are most interested in. Ask them good questions: How did you choose that major? What were some of the most important things you learned? If you could do it over again, what would you have done differently? Community is essential to making important decisions. The more important the decision, the more
people you need to be in conversation with.
Earlier I mentioned that I majored in political science, but don’t currently work in a career directly related to that field. I chose to study political science because I thought I wanted to be a journalist or a lawyer. As a freshman, I never imagined that I would be doing anything like my current vocation. But I’ve come to really appreciate how my major informs my work today. Critical thinking, a love of reading and the value of civic engagement were all
instilled in me by studying political science. Looking back, political science was a good major for me after all. Although the college chapter of my life story took many twists and turns, one thing remained constant: God was the Author. Choosing a major is an important, but sometimes stressful decision. But it isn’t final. You can certainly change or refine your major along the way. Some things in life—including a proper discernment about our deepest callings and vocations—unfold even as we enter the process of clarifying our call. Through it all, just remember that trusting the Author of your story is more important still.
Derek Melleby serves as director of the College Transition Initiative for the Center for Parent/Youth Understanding.
If you want to know more about CPYU’s College Transition Initiative, or to book a CTI Seminar at your church, visit CPYU on the Web at www.cpyu.org. If you’d like to learn more about the college experience, order Derek’s book, The Outrageous Idea of Academic Faithfulness: A Guide for Students, from the resource center on our Web site. Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in Comment magazine, the opinion journal of the Work Research
Post popular on Myspace:
Who is Barack Obama?
Probable U. S. presidential candidate, Barack Hussein Obama was
born in Honolulu, Hawaii, to Barack Hussein Obama, Sr., a black
from Nyangoma-Kogel, Kenya and Ann Dunham, a white ATHEIST from
Obama's parents met at the
University of Hawaii. When Obama was two years old, his parents
divorced. His father returned to Kenya. His
mother then married Lolo Soetoro, a RADICAL
Muslim from Indonesia.?
When Obama was 6 years old, the family relocate to
attended a MUSLIM school in Jakarta. He also spent two
years in a Catholic school.
Obama takes great care to conceal the fact that he is a Muslim. He
is quick to point out that, "He was once a
Muslim, but that he also
attended Catholic school."
Obama's political handlers are attempting to make it appear that
he is not a
Obama's introduction to Islam came via his father, and that
this influence was temporary at best. In reality, the senior Obama
returned to Kenya soon after the divorce, and never again had any
influence over his son's education.
Lolo Soetoro, the second husband of Obama's mother, Ann Dunham,
introduced his stepson to Islam. Obama was
enrolled in a Wahabi school
Wahabism is the RADICAL
teaching that is followed by the Muslim terrorists who are now
waging Jihad against the western world. Since
it is politically expedient to be a
CHRISTIAN when seeking major public office in the United States,
Barack Hussein Obama has joined the United Church of Christ in an
downplay his Muslim
background. ALSO, keep in mind that when he was sworn
into office he DID NOT use the Holy Bible, but instead the Koran.
Barack Hussein Obama will NOT recite the Pledge of Allegiance nor
will he show any reverence for our flag. While others place their
over their hearts, Obama turns his back to the flag and slouches.
Let us all remain alert concerning Obama's expected presidential
The Muslims have said they plan on destroying the US from the
inside out, what better way to start than at the highest level -
through the President of the United States, one of their own!!!!
Please forward to everyone you know. Would you want this man
leading our country?......
- Obama has been in the news a lot recently regarding religion. Clinton's camp and some extreme Republican camps have came out and tried to say that he is/was a Muslim.
- His middle name is Hussein, this should be a non-issue but some people have radical opinions about this.
- Obama is actually a Christian and has been promoting this clearly lately.
- He is a Christian, but should a Christian vote for him?
Some say "Yes"
Others say "No"
- Interesting video where Obama talks about these things:
- Obama's social political platform
- Obama's talk on abortion and faith:
[An abortion protester at a campaign event] handed me a pamphlet. "Mr. Obama, I know you're a Christian, with a family of your own. So how can you support murdering babies?"
I told him I understood his position but had to disagree with it. I explained my belief that few women made the decision to terminate a pregnancy casually; that any pregnant woman felt the full force of the moral issues involved when making that decision; that I feared a ban on abortion would force women to seek unsafe abortions, as they had once done in this country. I suggested that perhaps we could agree on ways to reduce the number of women who felt the need to have abortions in the first place.
"I will pray for you," the protester said. "I pray that you have a change of heart." Neither my mind nor my heart changed that day, nor did they in the days to come. But that night, before I went to bed, I said a prayer of my own-that I might extend the same presumption of good faith to others that had been extended to me.
Source: The Audacity of Hope, by Barack Obama, p.197-8 Oct 1, 2006
- Finally if that were not enough Obama has got a lot of attention due to good ole Reverend Wright.
Ellison Research recently released a study about American's viewpoints on sin. It is pretty exhaustive and interesting study.
It showed the vast majority of Americans (87%) believe in the concept of sin. “Sin” was defined in the research as “something that is almost always considered wrong, particularly from a religious or moral perspective.”
Some personal highlights:
"One of the biggest differences in whether people believe in the concept of sin is actually not even religious, but political. Among political conservatives, 94% believe there is such a thing as sin. This is also true among 89% of moderates. But only 77% of political liberals believe in the concept of sin."
"Evangelical Christians are far more likely than almost any other group to include numerous behaviors under the definition of sin, and the difference between evangelicals and other Americans is often quite large."
Under the " Definitions of Sin, by Religious Perspective… " table the "Not Born Again" category of people were less likely to defined any of the actions as "sin."
This study is pretty impressive. It is very interesting and worth a lookin at. It tells us about hte culture we live in. There are some things/meta narratives (like Sin) that even non-religious peoples understand.
These Faith and Reason posts will be a mini "apologetics 101"series. I hope to explain some misconceptions and give a little bit of apologetics training through my rants and thoughts.
Apologetics 101 training
World views - A world view is a set of presuppositions (or assumptions) which we hold (consciously or subconsciously) about the basic makeup of our world."
A world view is a way of seeing the world. It is based on what we know about the world. Everyone has a world view, whether they want to admit it or not. World views are In the context of religion there are 5 main over arching world views. Each of these break down into several of thousand of specific world views, but speaking broadly here are the general and main 5.
Pantheist - believe that God is in all things. God is everywhere in nature, in humans, and everywhere else.
Atheist - does not believe that there is a "god." Know there is no "god."
Agnostic - unsure if God exists.
Theist - believe in a personal God. (Mono or Poly) 'Personal God' means that God has a personality, may or may not be able to be know.
Deist- believe in an impersonal God. (Mono or Poly)
The Christian Faith
Faith is based on facts, probability, reason, and knowledge. Faith should not be a leap in the dark, but it should be synonymous with confidence, trust, and assurance. Our faith is based on reason! It is not a guess or an emotion, but it is based on facts. Even, Wikipedia has the right idea: "Faith is a profound belief or trust in a particular truth, or in a doctrine that expresses such a truth." Trust in truth.
I personally chose faith in God over there not being a God because probability. It is more probable that God does exist than he does not.
Truth is naturally exclusive. Some one might argue that there is a neutral world view or an inclusive world view (all roads lead to God)....Even inclusivist excludes exclusivist, people who doe not agree with them. There is not a true inclusive world view, because truth is exclusive by nature.
Think about it this way. 1+1 is always 2. There is always one exclusive truth answer. There are an infinite number of wrong answers.
I need to make reference to Apologetics.com radio show: Apologetics 101, and I don't have enough faith to be an Atheist by Norman Geisler
Only 1 of 2 students graduate high school in US cities: study
WASHINGTON (AFP) - Three out of 10 US public school students do not graduate from high school, and major city school districts only graduate one out of two students, according to a study released Tuesday.
According to many news sources-like this one- (and not like the Y! article that I mentioned above) and a study cited in the articles done by EPE Research Center and the America Promise Alliance, US HS graduation rates are often over-inflated. When you hear many schools around the nation say that they have 80% or high graduation rate, the number could be misleading. There are several various ways schools measure the "graduation rate." Law-makers are pushing to unify the definition and measurements devices used to determine graduation rates nationwide.
The study showed that in larger city schools graduation rate is close to and sometimes right below 50% while in sub-urban schools it is closer to 70% and in the rural areas closer to 75%.
Here is a full extensive report/ PDF if you are interested.
This is concerning and startling. It surprises me too because on one end of the spectrum, in America, we have high competition and stress about which college/university students should be going to to get the best education and a mindset that High School is just a brief stepping stone (of course "you are GOING to graduate High School, you are going to college!!") I have spent a lot of my life a part of and around this group of people. I was apart of it. I am grateful of my parents and their financial help to get me through to receive my BA. They have left me to get my MA, on my own, which is okay. But now I am starting to feel the pressure. And I am starting to relate to the other end of the spectrum. But I am no where near he point where I can self-righteously say I can relate to not having a High School Diploma. That would be tough especially in today's economy and the job competition I was talking about earlier. Some times as very fortunate people, living in and around other fortunate people, we often forget about the other guys who are not as fortunate. So I am calling for prayers and support for people who have tough situations and do not finish High School. The cities are tough places. So let's support Urban Youth Ministries.