One of the most common problems for college students is simply figuring out what they want to do with their life after graduation. Many students struggle with this decision; as a matter of fact, 50% – 70% of students change their majors at least once, and most will change majors at least 3 times before they graduate according to the University of La Verne’s Career Services. My blog post today is about why it is okay to be undeclared, and some recommendations on how to find a major you enjoy. Here are some important definitions to keep in mind while reading. Undecided: someone who really has no clear idea about what to major in while in college. Undeclared: someone who hasn’t completed the paperwork to declare a specific major (may or may not have decided on a major).
A lot of people (including myself) thought that you had to have a major declared as soon as you started college. I was unaware of what I wanted to study, and I knew I was interested in exercise, so I just decided on Exercise Science. As soon as I started classes I knew that it was not for me. I felt out of place in the classes, I didn’t enjoy the material, and I was unhappy overall. I was back to where I started. How am I supposed to choose one major from all of what UMD offers? This was a very big issue for me, as it is for many other students in my position.
What students need to realize is that there is nothing wrong with being undeclared or undecided. It means that you are keeping your options available and are open to new experiences. There are many things an undecided student can do to try and figure out what they want to do with their life. The first thing I did in my search was take a wide variety of classes. I took classes from multiple designators and different colleges to learn about a variety of different subjects. This is a great way to spark your interests, or find something you care about. By doing this I found out that psychology classes were very appealing to me, and I was excited to learn more. Some people might think that it is a waste of time and money to take random classes that you might not even need upon graduation, but if you take classes to fulfill Liberal Arts credits then the classes are not for nothing.
Another great option for students who are undecided on a major is to use the multiple services offered by UMD’s Career and Internship Services. Our office is the go-to place for any questions related to careers, majors, resumes, and any other school-related concerns you might have. One of the best ways to find out what you would be interested in is by taking one of three career assessments offered through Career and Internship Services: StrengthsQuest, Strong Interest Inventory, and Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. While these assessments have differences, each of them could help you in a different way. StrengthsQuest can help you realize your own natural strengths, the Strong Interest Inventory focuses on topics you are interested in, and the MBTI can tell you about your personality. You can read real students’ reactions and opinions on the StrengthsQuest assessment. All of these assessments are very useful when trying to find out what you want to do. Each assessment costs $15 and can be taken right in Solon Campus Center 22.
Another great resource Career and Internship Services offers is the opportunity to meet with a career counselor 1:1 and talk about your situation. All of the counselors are very friendly and eager to help you with your questions. They can help you interpret your results from the assessments, or simply talk about what interests you and what would be beneficial to you. They can also answer any questions you have related to careers or jobs.
If you are currently undecided on a major, it’s okay! Just know that there are multiple free services offered by the University that are unbelievable helpful. Take it from a former undecided student, I would not have been able to make my decision on choosing a major if it wasn’t for Career and Internship Services and the helpful advice from the counselors. So don’t be afraid to ask for help, and know that the staff are here to help you.
Of Possible Interest:
- An Undercover Undecided: Tips on Being a Flip-Flopper
- Choosing a Major (all of our blog posts around this topic)
- To Double or Not to Double