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Thoughts From a College Junior: I Still Don’t Really Know What I’m Doing

Summer ended faster than I could have even imagined. In the blink of an eye, I’ve gone from a starry-eyed freshman to an upperclassman, and I must say, those are two very different positions to be in.

College is a time of uncertainty. You may change your major, you may join a club you wouldn’t have expected or you may take an internship in a field you never saw yourself starting a career in. It is a time brimming with excitement and change. 

As the “starry-eyed freshman” that I was, this felt okay. It felt natural to be unsure because I had time. Time to plan, time to decipher my interests and time to make mistakes. But as I start this year out, I can wholeheartedly say those feelings don’t just go away. 

If anything, they can get more intense as you enter your junior and senior years purely because of the exposure you get while in college. Your eyes are opened up to a whole new world of possible career paths and opportunities that you didn’t know existed. 

I went in knowing I loved media and entertainment, and while that passion hasn’t gone away, I’ve gained insight into so many different industries I would’ve never imagined myself in, but can now see as potential career paths. Before college, tech was an industry that terrified me and while it still does sometimes, I now see it as a new landscape that I can learn about. It can seem intimidating on the outside, but once I broke down my mental barriers, I realized that it covers such a vast array of areas and is constantly shaping our present and future lives.

And what is even crazier to me is how quickly time flies in college. Especially as someone who started off at UCLA during the peak of the pandemic and had an entirely virtual freshman year, it feels like I’m constantly playing a game of catch-up. 

I moved to campus as a sophomore and many times I forgot that it wasn’t my first year. There were so many new things to learn and experience with in-person classes and events. I was exposed to different parts of campus culture that I didn’t often get while online. I took advantage of networking nights and various career fair events and found my niche in student organizations on campus.

I say all this to reiterate the idea that being an upperclassman does not mean you are “all-knowing” and set in your future. It is a growing process. Something that I don’t think people open up enough about is how little they truly do know. Even your friend with three internships or the girl you know who has been pre-med for the last two years is probably struggling to decide their post-grad plans. 

But these things are okay! They are a part of college that you will continue to feel, not just in your first year but through all four. I’ll be the first to admit, yes, it is a scary thought not to have the next two years planned out, but at the same time it’s probably what I’m most looking forward to. College is a time filled with excitement, and if you work diligently and put genuine thought and care into chasing new goals, your hard work will show and manifest into new opportunities.

If you are a first-year or second-year, know that college is nothing to be nervous about. I promise everything will work out. And if you are a junior or senior like me, I’m here to tell you that you’re not alone. We are all just trying our best to succeed and need to continue supporting each other in the process!

Hi :) My name is Jade and I am a second year at UCLA! I am a double major in communications and cognitive science and I am super excited to be apart of Her Campus
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