What It’s Really Like To Have An Undeclared Major

I applied to UCLA undeclared, not thinking anything of it, really. I was 17 and had just barely begun my senior year of high school. You know that feeling of being utterly lost in an endless sea of possibilities? I feel like we all feel it at some point of our senior year. Anyway, that’s where I was. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. Sure, I knew I loved acting, singing and writing, but I didn’t know how that would translate into one specific major. College applications offer you a checklist of tiny boxes, and you’re just supposed to click the one you think you might want to make a career out of. I didn’t know how to confine my interests into just one box, nor did I want to. I didn’t think applying undeclared would mean much, I believed that I would figure it out at some point along the way. In some ways, that is what ended up happening, only it ended up being a lot more difficult than I imagined.

At freshman orientation, the NSA's split you up by the major you applied into UCLA with. I guess being undeclared does not count as a major because they just put us into random groups. I was in the Econ group, and because my NSA barely knew me or what I wanted, she gave me the same advice any NSA gives to any undeclared student: take GE courses until you figure out what you are interested in. 

So that’s what I did. I took GE classes for four quarters, just trying to find my way. But nobody ever tells you the downsides to that. For example, although I did not know what I wanted to major in, I was positive about my minor: film. So I took a couple of film classes, and when I was ready to apply, I was told I was ineligible. I had no idea I would not be qualified for an application to my minor until I declared a major. Another downside is that when you are in a declared major, you get a specific major advisor. When you’re undeclared, no major means no advisor. And when you don’t have an advisor, there is no one to guide you in planning a proper graduation progress plan. These are just little things that have really impeded my development in graduating on time.

However, being undeclared has ultimately been a blessing. Not having a major has ultimately motivated me to get one. The fear of getting older and the quarters passing by without taking any classes that count toward accomplishing a course of study has propelled me to work harder to find something to be passionate about. I am not going to lie - it’s a scary situation to be in once you’re almost 2/3 of the way through your sophomore year. Not having completed any pre requisites to move along in any major definitely lights a fire under you to get moving. But it also forces you to take risks- risks that may ultimately change you for the better. This quarter, I finally decided to quit feeling sorry for myself and am aiming to get the major I have wanted all along: Communications. I am now taking all communications classes, and the same goes for next quarter. If I don’t get into the major this August (which is hard to do), I am going to be incredibly behind. But I am putting it all out on the line and going for something I want more than anything. All because I can.

Yes being undeclared can be limiting in some ways, but overall it CAN be the most boundless and liberating position to be in - you just have to have a positive outlook. Any and all things are open to you, and there is no need to conform to something you’re just not sure of. I ultimately would not have done this experience any other way. Being undeclared forces you to find yourself, something people with a narrow minded focus can sometimes forget.