English. Those are the seven letters I typed into each empty, white box labeled “Major” that awaited me in every college application.
While the English major didn’t stick for long, I had a lot of fun watching people’s facial reactions when I introduced myself with that subject in mind. Most people just looked at me with a face that said: “Aw, honey…you’re so brave.” To be honest, my current major isn’t much of an improvement. When I introduce myself as a Society & the Environment major now, most people shockingly exclaim: “What?? People can major in that?!” *Sigh* Yes, yes they can.
The path that led me to my major isn’t one that I expected. Before I even set foot on the Berkeley campus, I had decided to switch from English to Legal Studies, in preparation for law school in the future. After being advised by some seasoned lawyers to save the legal books for after undergrad, I was pretty much open to any humanities major that floated my way. By the time orientation had ended, I had run through about 10 majors or so. Switching from one subject to the next every other day, I was basically living a real-life version of Katy Perry’s “Hot n Cold,” except without the catchy pop music.
Eventually, I decided it was best to simply stick with “undecided.” For some reason, that word was a pretty hard one to muster when surrounded by peers who immediately answered with “MCB” or “CS” or “Sociology” when asked what they’re studying. I felt like everyone knew what they wanted to do with their lives, and I was just a little bit… lost.
After entering my first Environmental Studies and Policy Management class, something changed. I suddenly felt at place talking about environmental issues as they relate to human rights, and that feeling never went away throughout the remainder of the course. It felt natural for me to want to speak at every possible opportunity, to always sit at the front of the class, to dive into the course material through sources beyond the classroom.
So, to high schoolers who are feeling a bit lost already: don’t worry. Everyone feels lost at some point or another, and that feeling may be exactly where you need to be for something great to come your way. It may take time, but you’ll be found.