How Was I Supposed to Know What I Wanted to do With the Rest of My Life?

It’s that time of the year again! The temperature is dropping, the leaves are changing colors, and students are rethinking their majors. As midterms start to hit and we’re forced to migrate to the library to spend hours on end studying, many students may begin to question if their major is the right fit for them. 

Even from a young age, children are asked what they want to be when they grow up and they’re expected to have some sort of answer, whether it be a doctor or a trapeze artist. It’s drilled into us early on that we need to have some kind of dream goal or job that we’re always trying to get to. As we gradually get older, our answers to our future endeavors are supposed to become more realistic, we’re supposed to consider benefits, job markets, and salaries as some of the new reasons why we want a particular job. Our dreams are supposed to change from doing something that seems interesting or exciting like it did as a kid, to something pragmatic. The new advice that adults give you changes from “do whatever you’re passionate about” to “a job is a job, you don’t need to love it.” Students are thrown into this transition often as they enter high school, where then they’re told that their dream of being an artist isn’t going to be practical for them in the future and they need to choose a reasonable career. 

 

It’s always been expected of students to enter college with a vague idea of what they want to study and eventually do with the rest of their lives. There are plenty of students who enter college as undecided, but there’s often a negative social stigma surrounding them. Undecided students are often viewed as lazy, indecisive and wasting money on taking all sorts of different classes. But we need to move forward from the idea that it is the student’s fault for being undecided, and rather stop the expectation that students need to have their lives all planned out by the age of sixteen.

At the end of it all, students should be picking their majors based on themselves and what they find interesting. If you’re a biology major on the pre-med track, and you find that you don’t want to do biology anymore then you shouldn’t subject yourself to go through four years of biology just because you want to stay on the pre-med track. Don’t do a major just because your parents want you to. Don’t do a major just because your best friend wants you to. Don’t do a major just because your school’s guidance counselor recommends it. They’re not the ones who will have to get up every day and go to your job, and do your work, and take care of you, and live your life. You’re the only one who can live your life, choose the route you want for yourself, the one that you know will make you the happiest.