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Undecided? Tips to Declaring Your Major

Choosing your major can be a daunting task; such a decision will shape the course of your undergraduate life and the rest of your future. But don’t be discouraged! Part of the fun (and the challenge) is the journey rather than the final destination. Here are a few tips for declaring your major!

Focus on a career path—not a hobby. Oftentimes, what we enjoy will make us happy. And when we’re happily engaged, aren’t we more likely to be better at it? To excel and invest more time into it? It’s best to take this with a grain of salt, however. Some things are better left as hobbies rather than potential careers. 

Maybe it isn’t the most financially-friendly route for the lifestyle you’re accustomed to, or maybe you’re not the next generation Monet painter, no matter how many art classes you take. You can continue doing what you love—just maybe not as a career. 

The plus side to keeping certain hobbies as just that is that there is less of a chance you’ll burn out your passion for them. And who knows? Maybe someday you’ll improve your skills enough to where you can be financially stable while pursuing your hobby!

Play to your strengths. Doesn’t it feel good to be good at something? The better a person is at a task, the more likely they are to be happy doing it. This is not always the case, however, so be open to the idea that what you’re good at may not make your heart sing. 

Know what you don’t enjoy. Experimentation works with both finding your interests and turning you away from certain paths. For instance, I’ve always been intrigued by the stars and constellations. Can you guess what lab science I signed up for? Astronomy. Little did I know that Astronomy has more to do with the stellar medium and luminosity rates than it does astrology and constellation myths.

As it turns out, I hate Astronomy. There goes my dream of being an expert star-gazer! But I branched out of my usual subject zone and found out what I don’t enjoy.

There may be a subject out there you’ll love, just waiting for you to sink your teeth in! Experimentation is key to this. I declared a Visual Arts minor a while back, and Art History is a required class for any Visual Arts major or minor. I was dreading the class; I’d heard rumors that it was difficult and majorly dull. Nevertheless, I received a 98 in the course—I loved it. If I continue into graduate studies, my intended focus is now Art History. All it took was one little class to open an entire spectrum of new careers and opportunities!

Once you have a hunch on what you want, dive into the subject. Some fields require more hours and classes than others and it’s best to know what you’re getting into. If you’re fairly certain that this path is the one for you, jump right in! You may have to change majors later, but in the event that you don’t, you won’t fall behind from dilly-dallying around with uncertainty. 

Always remember: it’s okay to change your major. Don’t feel like you’ve been married to a field just because you’ve spent time there. A lot of the college experience is figuring out who you are, and along the way you’re going to realize that maybe the ideal future you’ve held onto for so long doesn’t sound as nice as it once did.

You don’t have to fit the four year mold to earn your degree; you can take as much or as little time as you need. In reality, there is no do-or-die deadline for earning an undergraduate degree. People often take four, five, eight or more years to complete their degree. Some of them even return to school to earn another, more desired degree.

There is no one correct path. Everyone’s journey is as different and unique as the stars dotting the night sky!

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