Deciding a Major: What NOT To Do Freshman Year

“I’m looking at the arts” my friend says, shuffling her hands in her lap. No one says anything, but I can almost feel the hostility in the room. Arts? Where’s the money in that? Go into science or something that gives you a future. Go get an actual degree. A lot of us come into college with preconceptions about what we want out of life; who we want to be as a person. And unfortunately, a lot of those ideas are wrong. We don’t know what we want, and we’re all just trying to figure stuff out. And that’s ok. So what can we do in the meantime?


1. Don’t panic.

Easier said than done right? But you have to realize that nothing has to be done now. College is a time to learn more about yourself and the world around you, and that takes time. A study by Penn State shows that 75% of students change their major, and recommends that students wait to determine what they want with their major. It’s ok to explore a bit- after all, you may not have another chance to take that class on Rock and Roll or explore you newfound passion for salsa dancing.

                                                                   Photo Source: 1, 2, 3 

2. Listen to others- but not too closely

Everyone has opinions, but so do you. Why does it matter if you may not earn as much as John from high school? If you’re doing what you love, money won’t matter. Try taking classes you’re interested in, even if they might not fit into your current major requirements. Talk to your roommates or classmates and see what their thoughts are- it’s always good to get a diverse range of opinions, and they might have some insight. Upperclassmen are especially helpful, as they can reassure you and help give you some pointers.


3. Use Campus Resources

Colleges are not going to leave you in the dark; they are there to help you succeed. Check the resources in your library or student center to see what they have to offer. Many schools have counselors and other resources who can help you with job prep, career advice, and more. Just make sure to use them early- the further along in college you are the harder it is to change tracks- but it’s still possible. Be connected to your resources, and know what you have to do and when to do it.

Deciding a major is scary, but definitely possible! Use your resources and be sure to communicate, and you’re halfway there.