From the moment I started college I struggled with choosing a major. I didn’t know at the time that it would completely consume my college experience. The first declaration I made during my freshman orientation was Magazine Journalism. Before I ever took a single course, family members made sure to let me know “journalism is dying” every chance they got. That scared me into declaring exploratory.
Basically, this meant spending my freshman year major-less. I honestly hated being put in the dreaded “undecided” category so I signed up for the required career course designed to help freshmen find a niche. While the endless personality and career tests may have been helpful to some, it fueled my anxiety further. I kept discovering more careers that I was interested in but I could still not decide.
To distract from the pressure, I applied to the Disney College Program and got accepted Thinking about the parks experience and tourism industry as a whole, I thought, why not hospitality?
After spending seven months in Orlando, I once again questioned my decision. I absolutely loved the Disney environment. But did I really want to do customer service-based roles the rest of my life? Absolutely… not. I met a PR rep for the company that helped represent the image of the Disney brand. That person inspired me to think that maybe I would like a communication focused major. I changed again, but this time to Public Relations. I thought the strategic communications coursework would lead me to success.
I felt excited for this change until I took Principles of Public Relations. The material seemed a bit dry and not something I necessarily saw myself doing. I learned how much PR professionals do to craft a particular image, and felt it didn’t feel very honest. I hesitantly stayed to see if I would like one of the specialty courses.
I took PR Campaigns and dropped that course after only two weeks. I just didn’t love the campaigning process. It involved gathering so much information and research to create a perfect campaign. While some jump over the moon over this idea, it just was not for me. I am much more of a creative-type individual. I felt everything had to be a certain way.
The creative juices in me led to change to a completely new direction this time: Fashion Design. Fashion design was a lot of fun. There is honestly just nothing quite as inspiring as starting from absolutely nothing and creating something beautiful from scratch. However, I lacked the natural technical drawing skills that are essential to becoming a good designer.
I could render, a fancy word for adding details to clothing in illustrations. But as far as the human body goes, I struggled. Fashion design led me to volunteer for the annual IU Fashion Show. Finally knowing first-hand about the experience of designing I decided to write about my brief experience as a fashion major. This led me to change majors again this time to journalism, news reporting and editing.
I have known for a while that I absolutely love writing but I just did not feel that extra excitement when it came to news reporting. News is just something that I feel you have to feel passionate about to enjoy the field. I know every journalist has a niche, but IU focuses heavily on news writing. I also took Communications Law and struggled immensely through that course.
After not feeling super passionate this semester I changed once again. I thought long and hard about what majors would allow me to express creativity and a love of writing. I changed my major this time to advertising.
While advertising has been my favorite major so far, it focused so heavily on selling. I have always considered myself a persuasive person, and I do think that I have the skillset to succeed in this field. But as far as constantly selling all the time, I do not find that I would feel a personal connection with this industry. So now, after five years of changing my major nearly every semester, I decided to graduate with a Bachelor of Liberal Studies.
This major is kind of what I would call the all-or-nothing major. It utilized credits from nearly every school. In my case fashion, tourism and media coursework all fit under the umbrella. While I heard about this degree before, I was so obsessed with the idea of finding a major made for me. I just never found it. However, what I learned from this experience is that I can’t be put inside a box. No matter how hard I try, I cannot label myself with once particular career path.
But the difference is that now, five years later, I am finally okay with that.
Liberal Studies Major
Throughout my life I will reflect on my ever-exhausting mind changing years of undergrad and feel thankful for all the different things that I got to learn. While the typical college student focuses on the once distinct field, I got to learn about three completely different ones.
Society may see me as an abnormal. I am proud of all that makes me unique. I cannot be put in a box but I finally know how to find a career that will satisfy me personally, ethically and reasonably. There’s nothing more that I could ask of my college years.
In life we constantly grow. I know that I will find my place to shine eventually. These years taught me that your major does not define you, it just tells the world the things you would like to learn more about. When choosing a major, remember the world is your oyster. Your major is just there to help you, not limit you in your career endeavors.