I still remember my grade school prompt: “What do you want to do when you grow up?”
Fast-forward to high school when a good majority of students scramble and flounder to get those college applications turned in, crossing their fingers for an acceptance. One of those high schoolers might be (or might have been) you. After being stressed and preoccupied with extracurricular activities and academics, the warm welcome of “Congratulations!” on an admission letter calls for a huge party for an accomplishment well done. But then, after going to college orientation and exploring the campus environment, it might feel like the beginning of high school since it’s freshman status all over again.
Some high schoolers have a good or general idea of what they want to pursue as a potential major or career. However, some may have been too overwhelmed with college preparations that just getting to campus was as far as they thought about their future. Is it bad to have absolutely no idea what you want to do? No! Going in undecided is completely okay. Here are some reasons why:
1. Many people consider college as a pathway for further exploration into what they want to do
After all, getting admitted already opened that opportunity for even more opportunities. And when it comes time to pick a major, do not think as soon as you choose that you’ll be tied down by it. Nobody signs his or her life away to be bounded by a major.
2. Most colleges and universities require their students to take general education courses
Well, being mandated to take these courses means less time for college career exploration, right? Wrong. Going through these general education courses is not a waste of time. They were designed, debated, and decided with the goal of benefiting students in some way, shape, or form. General education courses allow students to have a glimpse into what a major is particularly about. For example, if math is your weakest subject, it would of course be great not to have to take Math 101. However, instead of dreading it, know that you can pull through. If you are struggling, there may be a tutoring center on campus. And perhaps during those weeks of taking that class, you might end up liking it and decide to take even more math classes and eventual declare it as your major. (Hey—stranger things have happened!)
3. It is not the end of the world
The biggest advantage of being an undecided major is that you have plenty of time to explore and find your calling. This kind of time will also allow you to get to know about the kinds of organizations and services your campus offers. Unlike high school where you have little leeway as to what your schedule might look like, in college you do your own scheduling based on your own individual case. What this means is you can go join a club, get a part-time job, get an interview, be a professor’s assistant, and much more. College is really about gaining that kind of experience and making mistakes.