How to figure out what you want to study

Every university student can agree that they have been unsure of what to study at one point in their academic career. Personally, I had a hard time figuring out what program and potential career path I would be interested in. As a Journalism student now, I once considered going into the Nutrition and Food program because of my keen interest in becoming a dietician. Needless to say, I am interested in many different industries. I knew I was interested in journalism, but I also saw interest within the corporate world and wanted to explore marketing and public relations. If you’re in this boat of not knowing what to study or are conflicted between two programs, here is my advice when trying to figure out what to study at Ryerson


Make a list of things that interest you 

This may sound like a pointless tip but I recommend trying it. Sometimes people don’t know what to study because they aren’t aware of what they’re interested in, but really it is just a matter of thinking about where your hobbies or passions lie. For example, I enjoy reading about lifestyle topics from Refinery29 and other digital media outlets. I realized that studying journalism would teach me the necessary skills to become a strong writer to one day be able to write in the lifestyle section at a publication. 

Ryerson student working on a project in a lab

Talk to a trusted person about your university pathway 

I recommend getting advice from a trusted person, I had several discussions with my mom about my interest in Journalism and Professional Communication (ProCom). I explained my future career goals and how I was confused between the two programs. Seeking advice from someone can be helpful because they can give you different perspectives that you may not see yourself. However, be sure when you’re making a decision that it is you making the decision instead of being influenced by someone else. 

Decorative Gif of SchittsCreek character saying "I need your advice"

Via Giphy

Think about potential minors

So as I’ve mentioned before, I had a huge dilemma between picking ProCom and Journalism. I soon realized that I could take up to two minors during my undergrad. Even though my area of study is Journalism, taking two minors would still allow me to explore other areas I was interested in. I am now double minoring in both Public Relations and Sociology, and it is the best decision I made for myself. If you’re interested in a subject, but don’t want to fully commit to it as your major, you can consider making it your minor. 


Reach out to current students or alumni 

If you are interested in a program but aren’t entirely sure about potential career paths or are curious to know more about what graduates are up to, I recommend reaching out to people on social media and LinkedIn. I was able to connect with several alumni through LinkedIn, and asked them questions about the program and their Ryerson experience. Even though I didn’t personally know them, I got several responses from those I reached out to. I got a sense of what life was like after graduating and how Ryerson aided them to find a job within their industry.

Shot of multiple Ryerson students in line wearing their blue graduation gown

Figuring out what to study for the next four or even five years of your life can be a stressful time. However, it is important to remember that your degree does not equate to the amount of success you can achieve after graduation. A reminder to study what makes you happy, because at the end of the day, you’re the one completing the degree.

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