An ode to being undeclared

David Moreno

College is a time of self-discovery, and a time where you take the most important steps into the career field you love. For some, it feels as if everyone else knows exactly what they’re doing and what they want to do. For others, the search continues. The biggest worry for those wanderers is how to navigate college without that sense of direction. To be completely transparent, it’s terrifying. 

College is almost a crash course for the real world. But, without knowing where that experience will lead, it can be a scary subject to think about. I came into college with aspirations to be an engineer. 

However, after two semesters and more than a few bad grades, I decided that this was not what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Now that I had a year under my belt in a major I didn’t want to be in, with a GPA way below what I’d ever had, I felt alone. From personal experience and from observing close friends that sense of loss can lead to anxiety, panic, and for some, even depression. But there is advice out there that most of the students in this same category may never hear: it’s okay not to know.

It is perfectly okay to not know what you want to do in life and in college. As previously stated, this is a time for people to discover who they are and what they like to do. You don’t have to become a doctor, an engineer, an English professor, a theatre major, or even a historian. Sometimes people are not naturally gifted in mathematics or english, but they have such a talent for the arts. Maybe that business double major is too much stress, so, pursuing anthropology because that one LibEd requirement  was enjoyable, is better suited for you. After some deep self-discovery, you might want to combine gender studies and globalization studies, and that is your decision to make. For all the beautiful lost souls out there, you are not alone and you do have help.

As many students will hear over the next few days of Orientation, and for the rest of your time here, on-campus resources are extremely helpful in guiding you on your journey. Take it from this writer, as cliché as it is, the College has great people you can make a human connection with, who want you to succeed and strive in life. The Center for Advising and Academic Success and the Center for Career and Professional Development are great access points, so start by making appointments. Not only that, but advisors are also great people to talk to, other professors who you’ll meet in class and walking on campus, and even talking to students who are a few years older will help in the process. 

Inspiration will come in the unlikeliest of places. Don’t be afraid to venture out of your comfort zone and do something that makes you a little uncomfortable (remember: self-discovery). Join a club that will help you unwind, join a society, become a member of an honors society, do volunteer work, walk-on for a sports team, write for the newspaper; do something that will make you happy.

Being passionate about a future that you choose is far more important than suffering through a life that was chosen for you. To use another cliché, find a job you’re passionate about and you’ll never work a day in your life. Now go out there and break some eggs.