I have finally declared a major! (woohoo!) I thought the day would never come, but after thinking long and hard about it, I have decided to major in History. For those of you who haven't decided on a major yet, let me tell you - I understand how hard it must be, to choose one area of study that you want to focus on throughout your college career. Trust me, it was no easy decision for me! Ever since high school, deciding upon a major was something that I constantly pushed back to the end of my "to-do list", especially since the whole thing felt so distant and something that i would do "once I became older". Yet, here I am, declared and all - with some pieces of advice for those who haven't based on what I experienced since coming to Bryn Mawr.
1. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO KNOW WHAT YOU'RE GOING TO MAJOR IN BEFORE COLLEGE! (seriously.)
of course, there are going to be those people who know exactly what they want to do and where they want to be by the time they're 30. but you don't have to be one of those people! it's completely fine if you come into college not knowing what you want to do. In fact, that's sort of what college is for - it's a time you can experiment and take classes from here and there, trying to see what you truly love. High school is usually super structured, and doesn't give as much leeway when it comes to taking classes you truly are interested in. I took the IB diploma program in high school, which required me to take a class in certain areas of study. When I came to Bryn Mawr, I had an idea of what I liked, but seriously, a lot of people change after they go to college. You might come in thinking that you want to be a Psychology major, and end up declaring as a Math major! NO pressure.
2. EXPERIMENT! you won't know if you love it or hate it unless you try it!
Take the time to take classes from different areas of study. Don't focus on your requirements all too much - they'll get done one way or another. (I finished my requirements all except for one by the time I finished freshman year, and I didn't plan any of it!) By taking different classes, you will truly get a feeling for what you like to do over what you think you like. For example, my high school didn't offer any Anthropology classes, and so I decided to take one during Spring of freshman year. I loved it! Take the risk of learning something you've always wanted to - it will more often than not be a rewarding experience.
3. talk to your Professors and UPPERCLASSWOMEN! - they've experienced what you're going through!
It might be intimidating to talk to your professors at first - but remember that they are all there to support your academic endeavors - which includes helping you weed through your major options! I'm super duper shy, but it was so easy to talk to my Dean and my professors about my major options. They are the pros and they're all there pro-actively trying to help you however they can! Same goes for older students - they're upperclassmen for a reason! They've all gone through the same process - they weren't born with their majors stamped on their forehead! Take the time to sit down and talk (and listen!) about their own experiences - you never know, there might be an upperclassmen who experienced something super similar to what you're going through now!
4. School isn't the only place to explore - Take the time to find internships/jobs during the summer that give you a glimpse of what it could be like post-college!
of course, your major doesn't define you. sure, it's step towards a more refined path, but still, there are plenty of career opportunities regardless of whatever you choose. Take the time to find internships/jobs during the summer - experience within the classroom is different from what you experience while outside. If you have an idea of what you'd like to do, try to see what kinds of connections there might be between your possible major and your job - it could help you see whether or not you truly want to major in that particular area (or who knows? maybe it will show you that you aren't really digging that job possibility/major afterall).
I have to say, I am really relieved that I have chosen a major. Personally, it feels like i've come full circle somewhat - I started out thinking that I was going to be a History major, and I ultimately became one. BUT! It didn't mean that there were times that I thought otherwise (Spanish, Anthropology, Political Science were all serious contenders!) And remember, you can always minor in something as well! Picking a major doesn't restrict you to that one subject - Especially at a liberal arts college like Bryn Mawr - there's always an opportunity to mix and match. Good luck!
Until Next Time!