Sunday, June 30, 2013

Undecided Is Okay

As soon as people find out you're going to college, they're going to ask you what your major is. Your counselor, your great-aunt, your roommate...they all want to know your plan. Maybe you do know -- and that's great. It's good to have a direction, to know exactly what you want out of life, to start off on the path to your future.

But if you don't know? The weight of that decision can paralyze you. It can suck the joy and adventure right out of what should be the biggest adventure of your life thus far.

Don't let it.

Take your time.

You'll figure it out, but first you need to figure yourself out. And the person you are when you arrive on campus as a freshman is not the person you'll be when you leave four (or five) (or six) years later.

So take your core classes. Make an effort to meet people you don't know -- on your floor, in the cafeteria, at the fitness center, at the student union or the coffeehouse or after Bio lab. Join the clubs that pique your interest even a little bit. Do whatever you can to expand your worldview, and when it comes time to register for next semester, think about what you love, and try to find classes that relate to it somehow.

I was an English major in college, but my emphasis was in secondary education. I took precisely one creative writing class the entire time. And yet...I didn't love teaching, once I had a classroom of my own. Four years after I started teaching, I quit, and I've never looked back. Teaching was practical, but it was really the stories that I loved.  In retrospect, I wish I'd been less practical -- learned another language, read more books, taken art history classes, taken that trip to England.

Time spent pursuing what you love is never wasted. The path you take to your degree and the career you're working toward might twist and turn and meander, but you'll get there eventually, and be happier for it.

There's plenty of time to decide where you want to go. Just make sure to enjoy the journey.

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