I am currently in the second semester of my sophomore year and I still have no declared major. Let’s rewind a bit.
Now, some people know what they want to accomplish in life from the get go. Some people find their passions as children and have it set in their minds that they wish to pursue that career: as a politician, a firefighter, a mechanical engineer, a chef, an actor/actress, etc.
I would resign myself to the other part of the population that has never come across that epiphany. To say it in the least, I have had a few changes in my career path.
As a five-year-old, I had a passion for creating narratives and I enjoyed writing. In that moment and time, I technically wanted to pursue an authorship or journalism – granted, as a five-year-old, I do not believe journalism was in my vocabulary just yet. However, to disrupt my whimsical reverie, I was introduced to the concept of a salary and began to delve into the firm reality where I needed to find a job that hopefully aligned my passions and provided adequate financial support – once again, as far as a pre-adolescent mind can comprehend.
From 2nd grade through to my middle school years, I took a gradual liking to debate – mainly argumentation – and was introduced to the possibility of a career in law. I figured that from the amount of arguing I did with my sister, I might as well have made a career out of it. My initial gravitation was toward criminal law, but over time, I began to explore other options including patent and business law.
This phase really only came about through chance. It was my junior year of high school: the crossroads of career and college decisions. I had initially signed up to take AP Bio, but because of the lack of students to operate another French class, there was a conflict in my schedule: AP Bio would not fit in and I had to find another class or elective. After spending a moment of serious deliberation – approximately 30 minutes – I decided to take a Marketing, Advertising and Sales class. I went into that class with the initial intent to pursue law, but with my hesitations on dedicating the extra years to pursue a doctorate and my surprising enjoyment of the curriculum, I found a career path that helped align my creative and rational capacities. From that moment, I knew I wanted to do marketing.
I began to look for colleges that offered a marketing program, or colleges that offered business with a concentration in marketing. I had all of my prospects in line and things were looking good.
To avoid dramatizing the circumstances or making this a full narrative rather than an anecdote, a little while down the road, I opened up a rejection from my dream school – Wharton Business School. I was luckily still granted to opportunity to come to Cal, but this was compromised by the separate application to the Haas Business School. A little farther down the road, needless to say, I was rejected from Haas Business School.
But this is not a pity story. This is not one of those articles where it is an unhappy ending.
After having taken the Marketing class in high school, my career path was pretty rigid and seemingly insipid in its construction. Some people do well to establish that rigidity, but it also creates a certain pressure to accomplish all the critical steps on the career path.
Following my rejection, it opened up the possibility for me to really take the time to explore my options at the university. I was no longer resolved to a single identity; I no longer shoved myself into a niche and solely existed in contentment.
All in all, this whole review of my indecisiveness is really just a lesson to say that you do not need to have a definitive major before coming to college. As the cliché goes, college truly is a time for exploration. You have your whole life after higher education to worry about developing a career path, so there is no need to establish an early decision. And, while some career paths are limited to certain degrees – such as the need to pursue a doctorates to practice law as a lawyer, – there is great flexibility in career options independent of a major.
I am on the track to declaring in Economics and Legal Studies, with a minor in Mathematics, but there is still a bit of flexibility even now. But I have come around to realize that that is okay. When you come to college, it may feel like the big leagues and you have to have your entire life plan put together. In reality, it is just another step on your way of discovering what is best for you.