Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

Why It’s Okay to be Undecided as an Underclassman

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at BU chapter.

As an underclassman in high school, the idea of college felt dreamy. I wanted nothing more than to leave my small class behind, start anew in the East Coast, and become the fervent scholarly student I had always intended to be. Freshman year of college was a whole different story, though. As soon as I stepped onto campus and attended my first-ever college course, I felt like a deer in the headlights. I realized I had no clue what I was doing and no idea of how to ameliorate my confusion. 

women with mug and laptop
Photo by Vlada Karpovich from Pexels

In college, no one offers you a manual on how to find the perfect major or what extracurricular activities to join. Even with academic advisors and apps like Degree Map, you act as your own life preserver. And 18 year old me seemed to be drowning in the millions of questions I had.

I applied to my former school, George Washington University, as an international relations major. I unwisely did little research on what it entailed. All I knew was that it related to some common interests of mine, such as exploring foreign cultures and studying regions abroad, so it seemed doable. I also feared applying in as an undecided. It seemed goofy and reckless for a planner like myself. 

As a sophomore now, though, I realize how mistaken I was. After taking a year of solely IR courses, most of which I hardly enjoyed, I never had the opportunity to explore other potential interests. And while it may have allowed me to more than likely rule IR out as my major, I felt even more lost than before and pressured to meet degree requirements. Yet despite this fear, I took a leap of faith and enrolled in four unrelated courses this fall semester, going from decided to suddenly undecided. 

Taking such an eclectic mix of courses still frightens me, but it has also taught me a lot about myself and college. While it may not be apparent, almost everyone is lost in one way or another. High school you and college you are two very different people. Just a semester away from home and what’s familiar changes a person, and with that change, interests begin to evolve as well. It’s okay and even right to embrace that growth. Being independent allows you to discover what ignites your passions, and you should not stick with a major that leaves you feeling empty after graduation. 

book and stationary shop in NYC
Photo by Sandra Wattad from Unsplash
There are many perks to being undecided. I have been able to study subjects totally unrelated to my original major and take courses I may not have access to in the future. Currently, my favorite class is a Bible course in the Religion Department. The Old Testament has little relation to my IR history courses, but it has sparked my curiosity. I enjoy pondering God and seeing the literary elements to a staple piece of world literature. My interest is so piqued I may even minor in the topic, and without the leap of faith I took during Add and Drop, I would have never considered that route. 

Furthermore, being undecided will make you more well-rounded and conscientious. From a young age, we are taught that trying new things is important, and this is more true than ever before. By taking courses in different disciplines, you will gain a holistic view of the world and be decently informed on different topics and life skills. It’s awesome to be specifically talented in one niche, but having a multifaceted background is also beneficial. In fact, employers like multi-disciplined workers, and I think this very much echoes the undecided experience. 

Lastly, by taking courses between majors and even between different schools, you will meet all kinds of people. College is a time to push the boundaries and expand your interactions, and this can be hard if you’re stuck primarily in one setting. I enjoy hearing and learning from peers with passions different from my own, and by working alongside people in both my communications and energy sustainability courses, I have only enhanced my learning. 


If you’re still nervous about going undecided, take a deep breath, and trust the process. College is your education. You have the right to shape it however you want, and if you need time to figure out your interests, take it. College is the first time you experience real independence, and this extends to your education. We must embrace the unknown and lose ourselves in it before we truly know what we want. 

Want to keep up with HCBU? Make sure to like us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram, check out our Pinterest board, and read our latest Tweets!

Allison is a sophomore at BU majoring in international relations within the Pardee School of Global Studies. She originally hails from sunny SoCal but is enjoying living in the Northeast for college. In addition to writing, Allison loves to travel, spend time with family and friends, taste test açaí bowls, and learn new TikTok dances!