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Feb 04 2016
by Haley Young

How Deciding To Be A Marketing Major Changed Me

By Haley Young - Feb 04 2016
Like many high schoolers, I stressed over my choice of major for the majority of senior year (and even a good amount of 11th grade too, if I'm honest). My interests are plentiful but varied, and it seemed impossible to find an academic concentration that would let me do everything I wanted. I felt that no matter what I chose, I would end up sacrificing one of my passions - and that was a reality I just couldn't accept. 

I bounced between ideas of biology, psychology, creative writing, graphic design... Nothing seemed to work. The problem wasn't that I couldn't find what I loved, it was that I loved too many things. I couldn't devise a way to fit them into a cohesive whole that would make me happy and fulfilled - until I found marketing.

Marketing is often criticized, especially the specification of advertising. Many people find it annoying and deceitful, but I found it to be something else: my answer. Reaching out to the world to raise awareness for a product or cause requires knowledge of your audience and an understanding of the psychology that makes them who they are. It also commands a control of language - you need to know how to tell a story, how to make someone feel, how to be concise when it's called for. On top of this, you have to have a strong visual eye and a passion for making things not only functional, but beautiful in their own way.

It was everything I loved. My favorite disciplines combined into one major that I could pursue wholeheartedly, and I later tacked on a graphic design certificate to cement my commitment to the more creative areas of this field. With this major I don't have to truly abandon any of my passions, and I couldn't be happier that I held out and went through months of indecision to find what was really perfect for me. I believe that if you look for the connections hard enough, you can reconcile almost anything into a holistic picture. 

Choosing this course of action for my academic future made me realize how important building connections really is to me. It also made me look at the world in a completely different way - instead of separating out information and categorizing disciplines into their own little corners, I've begun to see the multitude of ways in which things connect. I believe I'm more open, accepting, and more willing to challenge the norms and create a path that works best for me - not for the successful people who came before me.

At the end of the day, it's not so much about the major that I ended up choosing - it's about how I chose it, and how that made me realize the world is bigger and brighter and more related than I ever could have thought.

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Haley Young - University of Wisconsin–Madison

Haley Young is a freshman at the University of Wisconsin Madison and loves everything about being a Cheesehead. Writing is her biggest passion, but she's pretty fond of bad puns and Christmas lights too. You can find out more about her and her work at

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