The Uproar

Time to Decide

There's too much pressure to pick a college major at age 18

photo by Kaycee Orwig

photo by Kaycee Orwig

Julia Badamo, Staff Writer

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“What do you want to major in?”

Pause.

Conversations stop. Curiosity looms in everyone’s mind.  They need an answer.

Nothing matters more in this moment than the words that leave my mouth. Eyes light up and turn to my face. Everyone present at the family dinner table meets my puzzled gaze as a cocktail of anxious emotions fill my stomach.

“I’m going in undecided.”

Unpause.

Sighs. Groans. Perplexed looks reach every corner of the room and disappointment resonates in the air.

But why is my answer so frowned upon?

If we aren’t making decisions that we genuinely want to make, then we’re preparing ground for a lifetime of doing things to please other people.”

At merely 18 years old, we are expected to make the biggest financial and professional decision of our lives. How does anyone truly know what they want to pursue with hundreds of options to choose from? Explain to me how much sense it makes to ask a young person to know what they will do for the rest of their life when they haven’t experienced actual college classes. It’s an oft-cited statistic, confirmed in multiple surveys annually, that over half of college students change majors at least once.

There is a huge misconception that what we go into college for is what we do “for the rest of our lives.” The true purpose of college is to lay down foundations. The end of high school is called “commencement” for a reason: College is where we begin, in a sense.  It is the place to find what we enjoy doing. If we aren’t making decisions that we genuinely want to make, then we’re preparing ground for a lifetime of doing things to please other people.

Many parents will pose the argument that going into college undecided is a waste of money. I understand their concern, but consider this practical option: you can get your general classes out of the way while you explore what honestly interests you, not your relatives and friends. I think it’s better to go in exploring what fires your imagination and identifying what you areas want to steer away from. It’s a costlier situation to realize three years into your major that what you’re studying isn’t the right fit.

In some cases, we must tune out the wants of our friends and family in order to hear our own. Don’t change yourself and your decisions just to please others. In the end, you’ll remember more of your “what if’s” than regrets. Just be yourself and rely on your own instincts and your own decisions.

Of course, I’m not advising you to go and blow all your money but rather to make sure your decisions are mindful. There’s a difference between spontaneity and impulse. Make sure that you’re loving what you do and the days and weeks will pass by more smoothly.  And if you’re truly undecided, have faith that there’s enough time to follow your instincts into a productive future.

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