Many students I talk with often feel overwhelmed by the amount of career/ major options out there. I frequently hear students capable of great academic success say they do not feel ready for college because they don’t know what they want to study. While I sympathize with the feeling of being overwhelmed and unsure of yourself when you are a late teen, I think it is crucial to normalize that experience. It is totally ok to not know what you want to do for the rest of your life. In fact, that may even be good!

  • Your major is not indicative of your career: Many post-college adults do not work in a field that was in their area of study. Post-graduate adults may feel that they apply their knowledge from college in unique ways. Most of the time it is the experience of learning skills such as self-advocacy, resiliency, organization, communication, time-management, teamwork, critical analysis, and prioritization that are more important in the “real world” than specific knowledge. These are the kinds of skills that you learn in college regardless of your major.
  • Very few majors require you to decide your academic path from your first day of freshman year: Some majors such as nursing and engineering are very specific and will require you to take a specific course path. However, it is likely that even specific majors require prerequisite classes that are very non-specific and can be applied to most majors. If you’re concerned that by taking general studies your first semester you will be behind in your courses for more specific majors, likely that is not the case. At most schools you would probably only be behind 1-2 classes for a specific major, which could be made up in a different semester or quarter.
  • Most college students will change their major (at least once!): If you search for the exact number, you will find varying reports. However, some websites and schools report up to 75 percent of students will change their major at least once. If that’s the case, what does it matter if you have chosen a major or not if there is a high likelihood that it will change?
  • Being undecided allows you to become more knowledgeable about the different options available to you: Starting out your college career as an undecided major gives you an advantage towards picking a major that you are really passionate about. College is a time for personal growth as well as a time when you are exposed to new ideas. You may take a core required class as a freshman that sparks your interest. Then, you talk with that professor and learn about several career options related to that subject. You may discover that your school has a cool internship program in that field of study, or even travel abroad options. The point is, being an undecided major allows you to be open to these experiences.