If you are starting out in college right now, taking classes that interest you is a great way to explore and determine if the corresponding field of study for a particular class would be a great major or career path for you. At the least, you can find out if you really are interested in the subject matter for the class.
A simple example of this is taking an art class in college because of your already existing general interest in art. Because a college class will likely delve deeply into the subject and require in depth work, you’re apt to get a good idea of whether you really, really like art. Then you can think about whether you want to study art some more by taking additional classes. At the same time, you can think about whether you are interested in pursuing some kind of an arts-related career, like becoming a professional artist, high school or college art teacher, or a museum curator to name a few possible arts-related career paths.
Be mindful about taking just any old class
But there is a flip side of taking classes to further explore your interests. Very few students can get away with just taking whatever classes that they want without having some kind of a general educational strategy. Be sure to meet up with an academic adviser to check out whether the class that you’re interested in taking can also help to satisfy requirements of any kind. For instance, for those that have general educational goals, like completing a degree, you’ll want to meet with an adviser to see if the classes that you do take will, at a minimum, count towards that degree.
Your actual interest versus an instructor’s teaching style
Also, when evaluating your interest for a particular class, don’t base your like or dislike for the course topic on the instructor’s teaching style and methods. Students have told me that they were turned off by a particular subject because their “teacher was just horrible.” On the other hand, I’ve often heard that though a student didn’t care for a particular subject, they still liked the class because the teacher “made it enjoyable.” Yet, there are students that take the same or a similar subject again later on and find the enjoyment level to be different. Therefore, as best as you can, judge your interest for a particular class or subject by your interest level of the actual course content itself and not by anything to do with an instructor’s personal qualities or their teaching style and methods.
Taking more of an objective approach in determining whether you are really interested in a particular subject area will allow you to subsequently make more effective career-related decisions.