How I figured out what I didn’t want to do at Berkeley

July 18, 2022

At college, it seems that it’s essential to know what you want to do in the future, but what’s equally important is knowing what you don’t want to do. Before my freshman year started, I had a variety of interests and potential career goals. After one year at college, my interests and career goals have changed. I discovered new careers and interests and realized which careers and interests are not for me. The most notable of these careers and interests that I’m no longer interested in are consulting and economics.

Coming into Berkeley I was an intended double major in Data Science and Economics (wow how unique!). I also wanted to be a consultant for a couple years out of college. In high school, I enjoyed taking AP economics and attending an economics summer camp (Economics for Leaders). I found the application of economics interesting and how it influences how the world operates. I wanted to be a consultant for a couple years because I heard that consulting helps you develop a broad skillset, exposes you to different industries, and helps you gain connections that you can leverage to get another job.

I took Economic Models (Data 88E) my freshman fall to gauge my interest in economics and data science. Data 88E was the class that I was most excited for but unfortunately became my least favorite class. Although I enjoyed the economic concepts on a superficial level, I was delving deeper into concepts that disinterested me. I was willing to put in more time into my other classes (data science and computer science). When we had guest speakers who presented their economic work, I found myself dozing off and being unable to pay attention. One embarrassing fact is that at the end of every lecture (except for two), I found myself napping and looking at my phone.

Like almost every other freshman, I applied to consulting clubs. I thought that I would enjoy working with my peers to create innovative solutions for companies. However, during the case interview (an interview in which you solve a consulting problem) for one consulting club I realized that I do not enjoy consulting. I felt as if I was wasting my time and that the solutions my group presented were useless. In retrospect, maybe this means we didn’t do a good job. I realized that while I can make an impact as a consultant, using my skills in another profession would make me feel more fulfilled and make more of an impact.

It may seem like I am just roasting economics majors and consultants, but I promise I’m not! Everyone has a different path and interests, and I’m grateful that Berkeley allows me to explore my interests. It’s ok not to like all your classes and switch paths. Finding things you don’t like is just as important as finding things that you like. Now you may be wondering what I am actually interested in. As a rising sophomore, I hope to explore my data science, venture capital, and product management!