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

When preparing to attend college, deciding on a major is one of the hardest choices someone can make. A major prepares you for the rest of your life. Your education, career, credentials, and experiences will mostly revolve around the major that you choose. The choice seems simple, but in reality, is extremely difficult. It’s especially difficult if you are someone like me who has so many interests and goals that make it difficult to just choose one path. Sylivia Plath’s fig tree analogy spoke to me more than anything else. I wanted to study and learn so many things that it was impossible for me to just pick one thing to study for the next four or more years of my life. I had researched so many careers, jobs, and majors trying to find something that would satisfy all of my needs, but the task seemed impossible. I was only a teenager, so how could I pick a path that would set up the rest of my life? 

As I further delved into my search for the perfect major and career, I eventually found something that was calling my name: human development and family science (HDFS). This major studies people across the lifespan and the relationships and experiences they have along the way. It has a little bit of everything that I was determined to study: education, psychology, sociology, culture, policy/law, and history. I had absolutely never heard of it before, but something about it was calling to me. It seemed so right, so I went for it. Now, I am about to graduate with my bachelor’s degree in HDFS this summer and will continue studying it for my master’s degree. I definitely made the right major choice and that has been affirmed to me in many ways. There are two big reasons that I am happy that I went into this field: the broadness of the field and the real life skills the field has to offer. 

First, as I have spent so much time in this major, I have come to realize how lucky I am to be in a field that prepares me for a variety of career opportunities and experiences. My major, the classes I have taken, and the opportunities I have been given have allowed me to explore a majority of the topics I am interested in. I have been able to satisfy all the little parts of myself and I have never felt pigeonholed into going down one career path or studying just one topic. I have been able to branch out and expand myself and my knowledge in ways that I couldn’t have dreamed of. Human development and family science is special because it allows people to explore many different opportunities across a variety of careers. The skills and knowledge that a human development and family science student collects over time can be applied to a variety of areas. 

Second, human development and family science allows students to learn real life skills that are applicable in a professional or personal setting. Considering that HDFS studies people, relationships, and life experiences, the information is useful beyond a professional setting. I have learned so much about handling relationships of all types like relationships with my siblings, parents, friends, and romantic relationships. I understand life stages and what kind of experiences to expect at each stage. So, even if I don’t go off and use all of my HDFS skills in a professional setting, they can be used for my personal life. Also, HDFS provides an opportunity to grow many transferable skills as well like researching, writing, and leadership skills. The information and education in the HDFS field is so rich and important. 

Overall, choosing a college major is extremely difficult. There are many things to take into account as it will set you up for who you are going to be and what you will do. It’s especially difficult when you have so many passions and interests. Overall, HDFS has satisfied my interest in learning a variety of topics and I have learned so many useful skills professionally and personally. I think a human development and family science major would be a good major for many people who want a major that has a lot of variety in it.

Sarah Knowlton

Illinois State '24

Hi I'm Sarah! I am a junior at Illinois State and I am majoring in Human Development and Family Science! After I finish my bachelor's degree, I plan to get my master's degree in Human Development and Family Science as well. Besides writing, I like to read, watch TikToks, make art, and bake!