November 11, 2022 | CULTURE | By Alexandra Akinchina | Illustration by Iris Guo

Choosing a major can be a stressful process for many. Some people have always known what they want to do, while others are just now figuring out what they like.

In my search for choosing a major at CC, I turned to those who have already gone through the process: CC alumni. I asked them 6 questions: their name, their major/minor at CC, why they chose their major/minor, how they felt at the time, their advice, and what they are currently doing now. Here is a taste of their wonderful responses.

I first reached out to Jon Mattes-Ritz ’04, who double-majored in mathematics and philosophy. He credited his choice of math to his enjoyment of solving problems and puzzles. He mentioned that his classes at CC were so small that they allowed him to form strong relationships with his professors. As for philosophy, he loved constructing an argument.

“Credit also has to go to Prof. John Riker. He was one of my FYE teachers and first advisor…Choosing philosophy allowed me to take more classes from him and keep him as my advisor,” Mattes-Ritz said.

His biggest concern at the time was choosing the double-major and “being able to fit all the required classes” into his schedule. “Both math and philosophy are small departments that can’t offer some of the upper-level classes more than once or twice a year,” he explained.

As for advice, Mattes-Ritz confidently states, “Don’t stress about it too much. None of the majors have enough requirements to take up all your blocks, so you’ve still got plenty of room to try different disciplines…Also, you’re likely to switch careers multiple times throughout your life, so there’s no way you can possibly pick a major that will prepare you for all the different jobs you’ll have.”

Currently, he is a Commercial Loan Analyst/Underwriter Trainee for a multifamily mortgage company, but before that, he taught middle-school and high-school math for 12 years.

Phoenix Chang Roper ’22 majored in international political economy. She shared that she chose IPE because it allowed her “to think critically and holistically about social issues… IPE broadened my thinking by balancing classes focused on economic models and statistics with others focused on philosophy and political theory.” She explained the deep connection between economics and politics, and that she “couldn’t imagine studying one without the other.”

Her advice for CC students? Not to worry too much about a major. “For many jobs, it doesn’t matter what you focus on in undergrad. You can always take classes outside your major, and I recommend doing so!”

She is currently a program associate at El Pomar Foundation.

Emma Cullen ’20, an economics and business major, also lent her experience in regard to picking a major at CC. She noted that she did not really know what she wanted to do in college and ended up choosing her major because she believed she would learn practical and useful information that she could could apply wherever her career path took.

Reflecting on her choice, she stated, “Looking back, I am really glad I chose this major because it led me to take a marketing class and I ended up getting a job in marketing after CC.

Currently, she works as a Paid Media Specialist for REI.

Emily Fryer Garcia ’03 majored in sociology. At first, she had no idea what she wanted to do after high school. “I went into CC thinking ‘I’m going to take some classes and see what I like,’ and it ended up being between psychology and sociology. I really liked the theoretical portion of sociology and it just made sense to me about human behavior so that’s why I ended up choosing it.”

Upon reflection she stated, “I did, toward the end of college, wish that I had majored in psychology,” but at that point, she was too far down the path of Sociology. 

Garcia noted that “so many people I know have ended up in careers that have nothing to do with their major in college.” She advises that you find anyone in the field and ask them what they like and dislike about it to get some ideas.

Currently, Garcia is a mental health therapist.

In our conversation, Garcia said something that stuck out to me, and I want to leave you with it.

“You don’t have to know your entire path; you just have to ask yourself ‘Am I moving towards something?’”

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