If you are just like the rest of us, choosing a college major is one of the most stressful things you have to go through. Suppose you would go out and ask any college student about their major. In that case, there is a high possibility they would say their major is the most stressful and difficult. However, the process of choosing a college major is not as stressful as you might think; you can argue that it is all subjective.
From medicine to fine arts, every opinion differs when it comes to college majors. You will have some people tell you to follow your passion and excel at what you love. In contrast, others will be more rational and convince you to follow a more stable and high-demand career path. However, we are about to tell you all about the most stressful college majors and how you can pick one that suits you.
What Makes a College Major Stressful?
Stressful and difficult are not synonyms; stressful situations inflict mental or emotional stress on you, and difficult ones require a lot of effort and perseverance to accomplish. So, what qualifies as a stressful college major? 52% of students avoid STEM paths as they believe they are the most stressful college majors, while others find fine arts the most stress-inducing career path.
A stressful college major often requires more than 16 hours per week, including many assignments, lab work, and time-consuming study sessions. Stressful college majors consume you at times and leave you little to no time for anything else, especially during exam periods. Also, we have noticed that stressful majors are more commonly inducing anxiety, depressive behavior, and worry upon their students.
Stressful majors are objective and vary depending on the type of person you are. A stressful college major is one you chose because everyone said you should while neglecting the one you actually love. Doing something you do not love makes it incredibly difficult to follow through with a plan. So, imagine studying something you genuinely do not enjoy just because you are looking for the typical college degree path?
Today’s primary issue with numerous people is that new high-school graduates feel this immense pressure to find an undergraduate major, usually brought on by peer pressure. Students nowadays believe they need a good college degree for them to be able to compete with the ever-growing market, which makes sense. However, this pressure often leads people to choose a college degree that is not suited for them.
Moreover, a stressful college major does not necessarily mean that the course load is stressful. Students feel they are being rushed into graduating in time, which is often one of the reasons college students feel stressed about their major.
Moreover, some college degrees like physics require multiple prerequisites and mandatory courses for graduation. This is one of the main reasons physics majors feel that it is incredibly stressful. Students worry about failing a class or getting a low grade, which will inevitably prolong their academic journey.
What are the Most Difficult College Majors?
You would think there are specific college majors that students find difficult when it varies from one person to the other. Some people are naturally artistic and have a flair for the creative. In contrast, others are more analytical and prefer STEM subjects. However, it is internationally agreed on that the most challenging majors stem from STEM topics, the most complex being electrical engineering and physics majors.
The reason students find these college majors difficult is the amount of time it consumes throughout the week to complete your assignments and your course load. The difficulty is objective; however, the term “difficult” or “hard” is used when referencing the total amount of time it takes the student to prepare for their courses.
Hence, architecture is also believed to be one of the most challenging college majors. It takes a minimum of 22 hours a week of work. Moreover, the stress and difficulty come from the numerous projects, planning, creativity, and dedication required. Architecture students are often seen pulling consecutive all-nighters before their deadlines, which qualifies them as difficult college majors.
Engineering courses aside, all other college majors under the science department are incredibly stressful and difficult. Think about it this way: physicists, chemists, biologists, and engineers spend their undergraduate degrees working on numerous projects, research papers, and doing a bunch of homework. Not only is it time-consuming, but the hectic lifestyle that one leads is tough as you are bombarded with a lot of information and details during your classes.
On average, for every hour of class, you will have to study for another hour on your own. This becomes incredibly consuming when most universities and colleges have a minimum course load of 17 hours a week for these majors, excluding lab work. Hence, 17 hours of classes, 4 hours of lab, and all the homework and research you have to do is consuming.
According to Harvard, their Mechanics and Special Relativity course is the most stressful and challenging course worldwide. It is apparently a common opinion of university and college students. Physics, astrophysics, and mechanics are the most stressful college majors out there for numerous different reasons.
One of the top arguments is that these majors require an in-depth understanding of advanced calculus, a bunch of data and analysis regarding the world around us, theoretical and experimental work.
What College Majors are the Least Stressful?
The least stressful college majors are the ones who have more free time on their hands, which kind of removes STEM majors from the equation. So, which students have a lot of free time on their hands?
Despite software engineering falling into the STEM majors, it is considered one of the least stressful college majors. It requires its students to do more research, planning, and implementation in a more systematic system, so there is not much room for creativity or deviation. Surprisingly, software engineers have an average of 13.84 hours per week of free time on average, ranking the highest.
However, since all engineering majors are perceived as relatively difficult, let us add that into the equation. If you’re looking for the least stressful college majors with relatively easy courses, your path will lead you down to management courses. These might include a range of college majors such as management, economics, business, and marketing. A lot of college students who are not confident about their college major choice opt for these majors.
Moreover, languages are generally considered one of the least stressful majors as you do not have to worry too much about your research or homework; all you need is practice. Students who take any language as their major generally lead pretty laid-back lives as they aren’t subjected to much work. Also, they find it extremely fun to practice the language, write, communicate with others, meet new people, and travel around.
What Should You Major In?
No one can give you a straight answer to this question. You know yourself better than anyone else does, but we are here to help you out with the steps towards your decision.
The problem is no one really knows what they’re talking about as no one had it easy choosing their college major. Unless you were one of those kids who always wanted to be a doctor and actually followed through with it, the decision is far from easy.
If you have always known what you wanted to study, we applaud you. This decision is definitely one of the most stressful decisions students go through in their lives. Pursuing something you love is the ultimate key to happiness and a stress-free career.
Here are the necessary factors you need to consider:
- The most successful and satisfied college students are the ones who choose a major they’re passionate about, even if it is stressful and difficult. Hence, we would not advise you to solely choose a random major based on expectations or peer pressure.
- Peer pressure and confusion are often seen in undeveloped countries where medicine, nursing, and engineering are the most prestigious college majors. However, would you honestly want to study something you’re not interested in and end up dropping out or flunking your courses?
- Do some self-reflection and find out what you’re most passionate about.
- You should also think about your future and evaluate whether your undergraduate degree of choice is required in the future.
- Check how many people, on average, are studying whatever college major you’re thinking of pursuing. For instance, computer science has definitely been one of the high-demand college majors worldwide for the past few years, and for a good reason.
We are rapidly moving into a digital world, making it very easy for computer science majors to find jobs during their academic life and after graduation.
However, if you feel like you are not very passionate about anything in particular, what you can do is take a gap year and do numerous activities, talk to an abundance of professors and students, and find some free or cheap courses online.
Nevertheless, that doesn’t always work out for students, as a gap year is generally frowned upon, and multiple students do not want to prolong their journey towards graduation.
If you feel confused and want to find a general yet high-demand college major, then read up on these high-demand majors for the next 10 years: nursing, software development, accounting, finance, physiotherapy, and solar power engineering.
Wrapping Things Up: What is the Most Stressful College Major?
If you’re searching for the most stressful college major to avoid pursuing a career in that major, you’re doing it wrong. Some of the most stressful college majors are in high demand. They will lead you to an incredibly successful career that also earns you a lot of money. We found out that astrophysics is considered the most stressful college major, evident from the few college students who choose to pursue it.
Any chock-filled major with advanced mathematics is an incredibly stressful college major, as it gives you little to no time for chilling with your friends. These students are typically called “nerds” and stereotypically referred to as antisocial.
All in all, how stressful a college major is will largely depend on you as a person. The stress depends on whether you enjoy the courses, how much time you free up, and how deep your understanding is about your topics.
In a gist, what you feel is the most stressful major is different from what your friend thinks, and we believe that is its beauty. Everyone has another character and different dreams, which is what makes each one of us unique. Any college major can be stressful, but why not pursue the one you love if you feel stressed either way?