Nate Neveau playing basketball.

Reaching Beyond the Major

Written by Gordon Behr

What happens when we don’t end up using our majors? This question can terrify a college student. If we had the power to perfectly plan our futures, we would work it out to where all the blood, sweat, and tears we invest in our majors would translate directly to our careers. Unfortunately, thanks to changing interests or shifting priorities, it usually doesn’t end up this way. However, even if our majors don’t always line up perfectly with our careers, they still lay important groundwork for our futures.

One student who faces this reality is Nate Neveau. Nate, a redshirt junior on the Hillsdale basketball team, is currently finishing his accounting major. He initially decided to pick up accounting because he enjoyed the classes and did well in them. However, when I asked if he planned on pursuing accounting after graduation, he chuckled and responded, “Probably not.” Instead, Nate plans to become a coach, pursue sports ministry, or attend seminary.

Despite these vastly different career plans, Nate doesn’t view his accounting major as lost time or a bad freshman mistake. He hopes to put his diverse skillset to use in a sports ministry or coaching position by helping his organization with taxes or money balancing—costly services that most ministries have to outsource. In addition to that, Nate recognizes that the financial management and technical skills he’s picked up through his major will personally benefit him by preparing him to step up to the plate to face whatever financial situations arise in his future.

Choosing a major doesn’t mean locking yourself into a certain career—especially at a liberal arts college where the core curriculum gives you the tools to tackle any job with critical thinking and innovative problem solving. Even if our studies don’t end up matching our jobs, we will still be prepared to work hard and provide different but valuable perspectives. After all, Hillsdale encourages us to consider not only the job itself but the virtue or value it yields to us and to society. Changing majors and changing careers isn’t as terrifying if you are still chasing that same goal.

Gordon BehrGordon Behr, class of 2019, studies politics and economics. He also plays for the Hillsdale College Men’s Basketball team.

Published in April 2019