By Christine Houghton
When you’re little, change is encouraged. If you want to be a firefighter one day and a ballerina the next, it’s met with nothing more than innocent questions from parents and a shift in the types of presents received during holidays. So why is this necessary growth discouraged in college, a place where this growth is still occurring?
In high school, most “Preparing For College Help” courses offer little help and instead invoke more fear than necessary. While students should be aware of deadlines and their gravity, they shouldn’t fear not having a future if they don’t make Early Decision. One of the biggest of pressures going into college for most students is choosing a major.
As I shopped around during my senior year, colleges and universities either required a declaration of major and/or field, and on the slim chance they didn’t, it seemed like the institution looked down on those who wouldn’t declare their intended major. This is an interesting practice, as the National Center for Education Statistics reported that about 80 percent of college students will change their major at least once.
Upon entering my freshman year at the College, I was dead set on sports journalism. I was encouraged to take other classes, go to community college or broaden my horizons in any other direction, but I refused. I loaded up on journalism courses, took on an internship my sophomore year and joined every type of journalism club I could find only to realize — this isn’t for me. At all.
As I reached out to professors, family and friends, I realized that it would not be as easy of an outcome as I had hoped for. They questioned my intentions, why I was leaving and where I was going. And, to tell the truth, I had no idea; I just knew reporting and journalism weren’t for me.
My friends were quicker to support, but those who knew me better — my parents and boyfriend — took a little more time. However, they came around to support me if what I was doing was for the best. When switching a major, it’s best to have a personal group of support, as I have yet to find a professor who does not laughably protest my switch.
Sometimes you need to experience one thing you hate to find what you truly love. Maybe it’s not college or a degree or just a different area of study. Happiness and fulfillment do not have a due date, and the stigma of looking down on figuring things out needs to die out. If you don’t feel that what you’re doing is right, go out and explore more — both in and out of your field. Take a different class, go to a speaker’s talk about something new or go to a job fair and just look around. Extra knowledge can only help you learn and grow for a future that is solely yours.