Before coming to college, most of us have no clue what we intend to do with our lives. Many students, like myself, begin to panic when they realize that sophomore year is just around the corner–the year U of M students declare their major. It is scary and intimidating that 18 year old students are supposed to discover who they are and who they wish to become in just two short years. Many of us become so overwhelmed that we find it hard to know where to begin this long and complex journey of finding our passions. While I still can’t be completely sure of what I want as my career, I can definitely say that I’ve found at least one subject that I am very passionate about. While I am not entirely confident what I wish to do with this subject, knowing that I am excited about it is an important first step in answering the important question that everyone is asked since childhood: what do you want to be when you grow up?
But how do you know when you’ve found subjects you want to actively pursue? Here are some of the ways to know when you’re falling in love with a subject:
1) You rarely procrastinate its assignments
When you find a subject you love, you usually want to do its assignment first when you sit down to do your homework. If you are just a natural procrastinator, you may save its assignments until the last minute, but you don’t really mind completing the assignment itself. For example, if English is the subject you love and you’re writing an essay for it last minute, it doesn’t seem as stressful or tedious as it would for a different subject.
2) You want to talk about it outside of class
If you find yourself bringing up moments from your class or talking to your friends about your assignments, you most likely really enjoy that subject. The subjects you are passionate about are the ones you feel are so interesting that they are worth sharing with others.
3) You think you are falling in love with the professor who teaches it
Sometimes when you really love a subject, you mistakenly direct this love towards the professor who teaches it. So, no, odds are you that are not really in love with that fifty year old married professor with kids, you just love the material he teaches and connect to him through his passion for that subject. So sorry, I hate it to break it to you if you finally thought you found the one; but you have discovered a budding romance with your possible major, that’s exciting too!
4) You find yourself sometimes weirdly smiling in class
Whether it’s laughing at a professor’s clever anecdote, smiling when you finally get that question right that you had been struggling with, or read something that is so moving that it makes you smile, you will find these moments of happiness in the subject that you are truly passionate about more often than in other classes. A subject you love is not the one that only gives you good grades that make you smile: it’s the one that brings you joy through the experience of learning it.
5) You want to know more about it than class has already taught you
If you find yourself googling extra information about a topic from class, reading a book that is not listed on the syllabus, or simply asking your parents more about an element from the subject, a desire to know more than is necessary to pass the class is a very good indication that you have developed a passion for the subject.
While declaring a major or finally deciding what you want to do with your life is completely overwhelming and, honestly, utterly terrifying, these tips hopefully can help you realize when you’ve found an academic field that you love. When you find this subject, you have successfully solved a section of the complicated puzzle that is your future.
Image courtesy of PBS.