"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary" - Steve Jobs
I love this quote! It was spoken as part of the commencement address that Steve Jobs gave to the Stanford University graduating class of 2005. And, to me, it speaks in defense of beginning your first semester of college, and even your first year of college, without a declared major.
One of the areas that students stress most about in college planning, once they've chosen their list of colleges, is around the subject of choosing a major. "What if I don't exactly know what I want to major in?" "What if I change my mind?" How far behind will I be if I don't begin my first semester knowing what I want to do?"
I distinctly remember entering college as a math/computer science major. My few quarters were filled with calculus, computer science, and a frenzied attempt to "get through" the prerequisites so I could move on to the next class in my major. It was all about "completing the requirements" which was exactly what I had done in high school. It occurred to me that one of the main things I was MOST looking forward to in college was that I didn't HAVE to have a limited, curriculum filled with prerequisites! That I could explore new and different subjects! It was then that I decided to be "undeclared" for a quarter and that was when I took my first communications class. Two years later, it was my love of that class that led me to declaring my major in communications (that, and not wanting to take physics) and a career in radio sales and management that was my passion for many years!
Here are just a few additional reasons why it is not only okay to begin college as "undecided", but it is actually an advantage to do so:
1. It allows you to concentrate on your general education classes and get those completed so you have more time to spend on classes in your major, once you choose.
2. It helps you to ease into your new college lifestyle without the pressure of taking core pre-requisite classes for your major.
3. It provides the opportunity to look at the general education classes from a different perspective - not just as "classes to get out of the way" but as opportunities to be exposed to new subjects and create possibilities and ideas for majors that you might not have even thought of.
4. It creates the freedom to take take classes your first year that you may not have thought about taking, providing the opportunity to learn more about what you love, why you love it and how you can connect that to choosing a major.
5. It creates the opportunity to follow your heart and your intuition, as Steve Jobs eloquently states, which means you'll have a much higher probability that you'll find a major and a career you truly love.
So many jobs and careers that are out there now didn't even exist 5 or 10 years ago, let alone connect to a specific college major. If you know what you want to do and why, by all means, go for it and follow your head and heart. If not, taking a semester to be open to exploring the wide variety of classes and areas of study that your college has to offer can provide possibilities for your future that you may not have even known existed!
Helping students to explore their passion, discover their purpose and create their plan to find the colleges that are best for them is what I love to do. If you'd like to learn more, I invite you to apply for one of my complimentary discovery sessions by CLICKING HERE.
Wishing you a wonderful 4th of July Weekend!