Katherine Harber, Campus Carrier copy editor
I get several different reactions when I tell people that my major is undeclared. Most of my fellow college students tend to be understanding, and they’re often curious about my interests and potential majors. My professors have mostly had similar reactions, as did many of my high school teachers when I told them that I was going into college undeclared. Unfortunately, some other adults were a little more condescending to me, hinting at their opinions that it’s a bad idea to be undeclared, and that I should just pick something and change it later if I don’t like it. Still, I did my best to ignore people like this and to go into college with an open mind.
A year ago, I committed to Berry as an undeclared student, and I was pretty scared about the fact that I didn’t know what I wanted to major in, or what career I was interested in. I’ve been a perfectionist and an overachiever my whole life, so it was difficult at first to let go and trust my instincts. I wanted so badly to have a plan, to know what my next steps would be and what big goals I was working towards. Here I am a year later and I still have no idea what career I want to pursue. However, I’ve come to accept and even embrace that fact. I’ve learned during my freshman year of college that most of us aren’t really sure what we’re doing or what we want to do. Some people have pretty concrete ideas, and others feel as lost as I do.
Even if someone has declared a major, it doesn’t mean that they have a better idea about what they want to do with their life. Before coming to college, my parents repeatedly assured me that being undeclared wouldn’t hurt me, and that many college students end up changing their major at least once. It took me actually experiencing college for a bit before I realized that people had been right and that a lot of us don’t know what we’re doing. It’s comforting, in a way, to know that we’re all just hanging in there. We’re all doing our best under a lot of pressure and handling a lot of responsibility. It’s possible to work towards success and a future, even if you aren’t sure what exactly you want that future to look like at this point in time.
For now, I’ve tentatively settled on some majors and minors that I feel good about declaring eventually. I’m enjoying being undeclared at the moment. It has given me a freedom to explore that I never had in high school. I don’t feel restricted to one area of study, and embracing that freedom has allowed me to explore my interests in a more natural manner. Accepting my uncertainty has allowed me to take so much pressure off of myself. We as a society do not emphasize enough that it is okay to be uncertain about things, especially as young adults. We don’t have to have everything figured out at 18 or at 22. It turns out that most adults are just winging it, too. Life has a funny way of working itself out, often in ways you don’t expect. Take a moment to be proud of everything you’ve accomplished since starting college, even if things haven’t gone as planned. Know that if you keep trying and ask for help when you need it, things are going to work out for the best.