Decisions, decisions: Why being an “undecided” major is okay

Is it bad to be unsure of the next step?

The stress is normal

Some people are born knowing what they’re to do with their life. They plan everything around learning what they need to learn, picking out what schools will help them obtain that goal, and with a little luck, they will land the dream job they thought of back in grade school. But, chances are, you’re not that kind of person. I know I’m not.

From kindergarten to high school, I bounced between the cliche jobs every little kid wants – from astronaut to ballerina. During high school I looked into pastry school, criminal justice, astrophysics, sign language, cinematography, journalism, quantum physics (I’m confused, too), amongst other degrees, and applied to 3 different colleges. All were accepted, and I was on my way to becoming a communications-paralegal-cyber security… person. Undoubtedly, three accepts for three different degrees I wasn’t sure about came with baskets of stress, travel-sized bags of anxiety, and a few purses of utter panic; semester class sign-ups loomed.

According to others considering the college path, this is not all that uncommon. Not knowing what to do after getting handed that shiny high school diploma is far more likely than having the perfect list drawn up. Having your whole life pinned to one goal seems ideal but is simply not feasible for the majority of people.

Practical steps

Pray. Ask God what he wants you to do with your life. Write down the things you’re good at, pick the ones you can see yourself doing for twenty or more years. Do some research on the degrees and jobs you’re currently thinking of learning. Learn how many jobs there are for your chosen degrees, and discover if those jobs are going to stick around for a long time. (Doctors are always needed; VCR repairmen not so much.)

Sometimes, the best help of all is to simply stop thinking. Don’t spend time stressing and worrying about what degree you should choose. Wait, pray whenever you start thinking about it, and then, practice mental detachment. When the time is right, the answer will strike. Maybe it won’t be a lightning bolt; you’ll likely just drop your immediate concern, and come to the simple realization of, “Huh, this could work.” Just make sure you’re not working in a daycare when you drop whatever it is you’re doing. Professional childcare is wonderful so long as you don’t suddenly let go of a kid.

Because of an offhanded comment that because I enjoyed writing so much, English might be something interesting, I stopped. Immediately, I looked up which of the three schools I had applied to had that degree. Only Regent University fit the bill, and to this day I can’t imagine going to any other school. It was one month before registration when I finally picked my major.

It’s alright to go is as an undecided major, and remain undeclared for awhile. Although I’m in (and currently loving) English,  I know it can take a lot of trying, frustration, and a few rounds of almost giving up. However, once something clicks, it makes you all the more eager continue on.

Morgan Saddleson is a contributor to The Daily Runner.