Declaring a major is a terrifying prospect for any high school senior, especially one who doesn’t know what path they want to take. For me, I had a general idea of things that interested me, but the thought of not only choosing a school but also a career path terrified me, so I decided to apply as undeclared everywhere.
I ended up moving over 1,000 miles away out of state, which was already a big jump for me since I had never moved before in my life, so I’m glad I was undeclared. It was a little scary at first; I didn’t have the liberty of meeting everyone in my major during Welcome Week, and I didn’t have an academic plan, but it was freeing to know that there wasn’t much pressure on me to choose. I was free to take whatever classes I wanted and look into things that interested me. My good friend and fellow previously undeclared student, Dakota Lewis, who is now a double major in English Literature and Media and Communications, put it well: “[Being undeclared] gives you a lot of room to explore different programs and subjects without really needing the same prerequisites you would need in a major. It also gives you a lot of time while on campus to talk to professors about what each major offers and build those connections across different departments.”
I also surrounded myself with people who understood my concerns and supported my decisions. My dear friend and also previously undeclared student, Ven Mubarak, shared this sentiment. “A lot of people reassured me that being undeclared was okay – from the moment I came in up until I declared,” he said. “It was really nice to meet people who understood how difficult the decision was, and I loved having the variety in my schedule as I tried to figure out what I wanted to major in.” Ven is now majoring in English with a concentration in Creative Writing and minoring in Theatre Arts,
I will say, though, that I noticed a big difference and comfort once I did declare. I had always wanted to find a way to combine my love of psychology, writing, and acting together, and knew I wanted to take at least one minor, but was fearful I wouldn’t be able to make it work. After discussing the possibilities with professors from each department, I was able to declare an Acting BFA major with a double minor in Creative Writing and Psychology. However, this also means I have a lot of classes to take, and was nervous that I wouldn’t be able complete everything I needed within 4 years. Having an advisor who understands my goals and the programs I am in is incredibly helpful. When we sat down to make my academic plan, I was over the moon excited and no longer stressed about my future academics.
I strongly encourage those who are unsure about their career path to not be afraid to go into college undeclared. I also encourage you to reach out to teachers and take classes in the fields you are interested in. The best way to find out if something fits is to try it on. Ask questions, and don’t be afraid to go after ambitious ideas and find a major/minor combination that is tailored to you and your interests. Surround yourself with people who understand your concerns and will help you figure out what it is that you want. Don’t pressure yourself; it isn’t a race. Go at your own pace, and enjoy the ride!