It's Okay to be Undecided in College


Sep   2013



Have you ever been asked what you want to do with your life? Have you been asked this question hundreds of times? Do you feel unsure, insecure, confused, and overwhelmed? If you’ve ever felt any of those emotions, know that it is completely normal and that you are not alone!

Preparing for college requires considering what major you want to study. For some people, it means finding the best schools in that particular area of study. These people may feel certain of the career they see themselves having five, 10 years from now. They can clearly picture their lives down the road. 

On the other hand, what if you can’t quite make out a clear vision of yourself after college? It can begin to feel incredibly overwhelming, especially if you don’t seek out the help that has been put in place for you.

Most colleges have career centers or career services offices, which can provide a vast array of resources to you starting your first week on campus. Many students do not even realize how much these centers and the individuals who work there have to offer, or they do not take advantage of the resources until right before they are going to graduate.

As a freshman, the career center can help you get accustomed to using your schoolwork and your studies as a road to a future job. They can help you understand what the marketplace looks like and be strategic and deliberate about your plan. They can talk to you about what majors lead to which types of jobs and open up paths that you may not have even known existed.

There are so many more options than more well-known categories that we constantly hear people talk about as fulfilling, financially stable, lifelong careers (doctor, lawyer, etc.). There is so much more to know and to experience. 

Career center staff can help you learn about yourself too. They have surveys, studies, books, advice, and experience working with college-age students who, for years and years, just like you, needed to decide what was the best career for them.

I remember people always asking me what I wanted to be and do and how I was going to decide. I remember feeling unsure and overwhelmed, lost and frustrated. How can people expect you to choose a future career until you’ve spent some time searching through all of the options out there? How can people expect you to commit to a future job without ever seeing what that job does day in and day out?

Career counselors can set you up with shadowing experiences where you can see what it means to truly walk in the shoes of a doctor, a professor, a nutritionist, a mechanical engineer, or any other number of job options.

Choosing a major and understanding what types of jobs you’ll eventually be looking for should be at the forefront of most people’s minds during this time in their lives. But without taking advantage of the proper resources, like the career center and all it has to offer, it can feel impossible to create your own path. 

Visit, talk to a career counselor, and be on your way—with the help of those around you—to a better and more promising college experience.   

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About Rosemary Cochrane

Rosemary Cochrane, an avid writer, has always been passionate about the written word and its power to transcend the content at hand and bring people together. She studied journalism and international studies during her undergraduate education at Penn State University and spent a semester studying history, art, and political science in Rome. She also combined her love of sports and writing as a member of the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism. Some of her favorite experiences during college include her time as a writing tutor for undergraduate and graduate students, as well as NCAA student-athletes, and her time as an advisor with global programs for students hoping to study abroad. Since graduation, Rosemary has worked in business as a manager and leader and in the pharmaceutical industry. She has incorporated her writing into every position she has ever held and is excited to continue working on her craft. She loves Penn State football, Philadelphia sports, spending time with her family, traveling, reading, and running.