I have never been the person that knew exactly what they wanted to do with their life. I have always been so jealous of the people who have that path and plan for themselves, but that is just not me.
Upon entering college, I was undeclared. In fact, I still am undeclared. I came into college with the vaguest idea of what I wanted to study. Now, I have a clearer idea and path for myself. However, being undeclared is something I really struggled with the first semester of my freshman year.
I have always felt some embarrassment when I tell people that I am undeclared. Maybe I overthink too much. I am sure that I do, but I do sometimes feel judgment from others when I tell them that I am undeclared. A common response I get is, “Well, do you have ANY idea what you might want to study?” Again, I am sure some of this is just me overthinking, but there is some sense of judgment in that question. My worth should not be defined by the fact that I do or don’t know what I want to commit to for the rest of my life at only 18 years old!
I still sometimes struggle to feel that I’m doing just as well as my peers. From my floormates to my roommate and most of my friends from high school, it feels like everyone is declared. It’s hard to feel like I have it together, but all that negative self-talk does not help.
There is truly nothing wrong with being undeclared. If anything, I am glad that I got the opportunity to experiment and take classes that I wouldn’t have otherwise. You are just on a different path, and that’s okay. Here are four tips that you can follow to navigate the experience as best as possible!
- Do not compare yourself to your peers
You are on a different path than they are, and there is nothing wrong with that. You have plenty of time to figure out your path. In the meantime, join clubs and start building your resume in other ways.
- Take intro classes
I took several intro classes my first semester, and it helped me figure out what I am and am not interested in. Intro classes are not always the most fun because of the size and nature of the classes, but make the most of them. Use them as an opportunity to figure out what interests you!
- Take the FY101 class, in the undeclared section
BU does a good job of easing the worries of undeclared students. I was able to take advantage of the school’s resources when I took FY101, a course for freshmen called, “The First-Year Experience.” Of course, the mere fact of enrolling in this class did not change everything, nor did it plan my life for me, but it did provide me with some tools to help figure out what I am interested in and what disciplines align with my values. It also gave me the opportunity to meet other undeclared students!
- Do not be embarrassed about being undeclared
It is not something to be shameful about. Everyone is on their own path, and being undeclared has nothing to do with your drive or intelligence. Don’t let others’ judgments and opinions dictate how you feel about yourself. Be confident in yourself, take the time to get to know what you love and what you want to study, and remember that you are not alone on this path.