In academia, we call that an “Undeclared” major. Some call it “Undecided.” Whatever you want to call it, the fact remains that “Undeclared” or “Undecided” is the biggest major at every school for incoming freshmen. Most students don’t have a clue what they want to do…and that is OKAY! If you are one of those students, please do not feel stupid. Do not feel behind. Most of your friends who think they know what they want to do will change their mind after a semester anyway. It happens. I almost wish it was mandatory to come to college as an “Undeclared” major simply because so many students spend good money going one direction, only to change their mind later and have to spend additional money going a different direction.
In most cases, you could be “Undeclared” for about three semesters before declaring the major that fits you best and still get out in four years. Most majors require a certain amount of general education classes (“Gen Eds”) that are pretty much the same across the board. By signing up for these classes your first few semesters, it could buy you some time to figure out which direction is best for you.
I realize college is not for everyone. But if you believe it might be, I recommend the following: GO TO SCHOOL EVEN IF YOU DON’T KNOW EXACTLY WHAT YOU WANT TO DO WITH YOUR LIFE (all caps for emphasis). Although I certainly would not want anyone to spend money without a purpose, there are at least 2 key problems with the philosophy of waiting for all the stars to align before going after it.
1. Life happens.
I have seen many students put off going to college because they didn’t know exactly what they wanted to do. They got jobs that paid more than what they were earning in high school and saw paying for college, not as an investment, but as an unnecessary expense. Even though they knew they could get their college degree and earn even more money and enjoy benefits they didn’t currently have, they wouldn’t make the transition. After a while they got married and started a family. Later, when they wanted to go back to school, it was pretty much impossible.
2. Change happens.
Experts have noticed that people change careers (not jobs, but careers) an average of 7 times. These experts have also noted that the world is changing so quickly that 5 of the 7 careers for our lifetime haven’t even been invented yet! Statistically, those who have a college degree will have more job options and benefits than those without a degree. And if you’re concerned about not knowing exactly what you want to do, take heart. Some of the current careers that are crowding the field won’t even be around in a few years.
The key is to finish. If you put off going to college one semester, it will be easy to rationalize and put it off another semester, and then another. Before you know it, three years will fly by and you will be no closer to your goals. It will never be easier to go to college than right out of high school. So even if you have no idea about what you want to do, take at least one class each semester and help put those life happenings and changes to work in your favor.