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College Beat: Is It Bad to Have an Undeclared Major?
Written by Christi Given | September 10, 2015
While applying for college you may feel like there are so many choices to pick from regarding declaring your major and minor in school. Not everyone knows what they want to do with their life or has a dream career in mind. Sometimes self-discovery is a learning process and you have to learn as you go by faith. In my personal opinion, it seems better and more efficient time-wise to know where you want to go so you can select the proper courses and get to work right away on your degree, but life isn’t always that simple. Sometimes people pick double majors to pursue two careers, and some have the priority as the major and the secondary as the minor choice.
The only time I would say to pick an undeclared major is if you don’t know what you want to study and don’t have a specific passion. I would say what is better advice is to go to junior college and explore different fields in multiple subjects. From there, you can then narrow down your selection. If you still cannot figure out your major of choice, then proceed with the undeclared major if you absolutely have to.
College is expensive and, according to Forbes, choosing a major is more financially desirable, so it is wise to know your major before enrollment. Follow your passions, talents, what you enjoy and what God has created you to do on this earth. If you love cooking, go to culinary school; if you love beauty and hair, go to cosmetology school; if you want to teach, get your teaching degree; and so forth. Plan ahead before you apply to schools and really think about your future and what you would love to do as a career. Don’t waste your time and money on a degree that you will not use or that you will not be happy with pursuing. Do what makes you passionate and zealous for life, and your degree will come in handy for the future.
Although it seems like a faulty idea to not declare your major, here are some reasons why it isn’t the end of the world, and some benefits of not declaring:
1. You may discover a new passion. If you are exploring new subjects and courses, you may find that you really enjoy a particular topic of study that you would have never considered.
2. You will learn about diverse topics. Instead of just being assigned courses that are in a set major or area of study, you will have more flexibility to learn whatever you choose.
3. You will have more freedom academically. Again, as opposed to having a declared major with set classes, you will be able to take an appetizer of courses to be able to hone in on your calling and purpose in life.
4. You don’t have to worry about changing your major. Some people think they know what they want to do for a living, then they find out it wasn’t their passion. Maybe their parents pushed them into an area of study or they tried to do something they just didn’t like doing. Well, for you, you won’t be in that situation because you don’t have a permanent major. Explore—and eventually, of course, choosing a specific career or academic major or field is the goal.
5. You won’t be locked in initially and can avoid wasting time and money. This rings true if you have a major and then change it or don’t know what to change it to. I’ve met people who thought they knew what they wanted, but ended up changing their major or minor after they spent time, money and energy on these classes. You avoid all this by knowing upfront that you need to navigate, and hey, that’s okay. Of course, knowing and being certain is the best option, but everyone is different and things take time for some people.
Advice on How to Navigate Your Purpose, Major and Calling or Career
1. Pray. God created you (Jeremiah 29:11, Psalm 139) and He designed you with gifts and talents and for a REASON. God won’t leave you hanging. Find out what His will is before deciding what your plan is.
2. Ask mentors for advice. Prayer, of course, will help this process as well. It doesn’t hurt to ask your advisor and counselor for wisdom on what studies you should pursue and ask those closest to you where they feel your strengths are.
3. Examine your strengths and hobbies. What do you find yourself doing in your spare time? What makes your heart happy? Do that. Choose that career. Life is way too short to be miserable or to do something you are not strong at. Work smarter, not harder, as they say. I guess when you’re working at what you love, you never need a weekend necessarily because you get up excited for the day! (I do believe in a strong work ethic, but I get the saying/quote.)
4. Follow your dreams and your gut. Always remember to follow what you have envisioned for your life; don’t settle or waver from the vision God has given or will give you if you ask him! (Habakkuk 2)
5. Work hard and stay focused. If you work hard, stay humble, work as unto the Lord and really ask God for guidance, He will order your steps. Don’t walk in fear or doubt. Remember things change in life, but God will give you clarity and confirmation and will redirect you if needed!
[Sources: forbes.com/sites/troyonink/2010/12/16/bad-college-advice-the-undeclared-major/; mobile.nytimes.com/2012/11/04/education/edlife/choosing-one-college-major-out-of-hundreds.html?referrer=&_r=0; collegelife.about.com/od/CollegeMajors/a/10-Benefits-Of-Being-An-Undecided-Major.htm ]
PI Girls, have you selected a major or do you have an idea of what you want to focus on in college?