Freshman year I entered college undecided. Others who also entered undecided probably received the same responses I got: “How are you starting without a major?” or “How do you not know by now?” Making you feel as if there’s absolutely no time; that you’ll end up completely doomed not knowing what exact career path you want for the rest of your life at 17-18 years old.
Not going to lie, I felt a lot of pressure. I felt alone, as if no one was in my position.
However, after spending time in college myself and seeing other students’ paths, I later realized that many students actually enter college undecided. Many students also question or change their claimed major. Sometimes even multiple times.
I made a plan and decided what personally worked best for me. Freshman year I dedicated most of my classes towards my general core classes that I needed to take regardless of whatever major I chose. I’d also use freshman/sophomore year to take classes that would count towards electives (courses outside of your major besides core classes) and try out classes from different majors to find out which fits for me. I also figured getting involved with different organizations on campus that correlate to certain majors would help me make my decision.
Here’s the timeline of how things went down:
Fall semester freshman year— everything’s going according to plan
In my school, first-semester freshmen can’t choose their classes or their schedule. The school provides it for you. Most of the classes given the first semester typically include core classes or intro classes to your major. Since I entered undecided, I took cores, along with an introduction to psychology class as a required social science elective that I needed. While I found the material in that class interesting, I discovered during this time that I didn’t want to major in psychology.
Spring semester freshman year I finally get to choose my own courses and schedule
I decided to take more of the general core classes to get them out of the way. I started looking into organizations on campus that I wanted to join such as the Communication Arts Club when suddenly everything changed. COVID caused everything to shut down and put a pause on all the ideas I had in mind. With all my classes now virtual, I needed to balance figuring out what I wanted to do along with how to adjust to these new ways of learning. Figuring out how to perform well in my classes in a completely virtual format now created another new obstacle for me to face considering the transition from high school to college is already a huge adjustment. Never going to online school in my life only added an additional obstacle.
With the help of compassionate professors during these uncertain times that understood this was an unexpected situation for everyone, I ended up adjusting pretty well to online classes. I liked completing my classwork from the comfort of my own home and not worrying about constant commuting, but I did miss the structure and campus-life that comes with going to school in-person.
When the time arrived to start registering for classes for my fall semester sophomore year, I wanted to integrate some intro courses of majors I considered into my schedule, along with any additional cores remaining.
Let’s Rewind back to my First Semester of College
I attended an event for one of my classes called “Major Mentor Mixer.” It involved students from all majors speaking to freshmen, informing them on what their particular major’s about. We moved in timed rotations, so we needed to decide which few tables we wanted visit. I initially stopped by the fashion studies table because it caught my eye and I always wanted to learn more about the fashion world. At this table I received a pamphlet and learned a little about the Disney College Program. I also stopped by the education table, which was another major area of academic and career interest of mine.
But the table that I knew I wanted to hit at some point during the event was the Communication Arts table. Since I didn’t know much about the major prior to this event, talking with other students acted as a guide since the options of what you can do with this major may not seem as straight-forward compared to others. Here I spoke with two students who I later on got to know better from seeing each other around campus and being in the same classes together. When learning about the field of communications and hearing all of these different possible paths like broadcasting, it really sparked my interest in learning more about this major. This led me afterwards to spending my free time on campus in-between classes (before COVID) in the communications lab, getting to know more students and some professors within the major.
Flash forward to registering for my fall sophomore year classes.
I decided to take two communications classes, Intro to Mass Communication (where I learned about all the different branches of media) and Intro to Advertising. End Result: I really enjoyed them. Spring semester sophomore year I ended up joining a multi-media club on campus and took several courses within the communications department. The club conducted meetings mostly through a virtual format and my courses were a mix of both virtual and in-person instruction. Even virtually I learned that the communication arts major leads towards many different paths: journalism, TV/film production, advertising, public relations and so much more.
Being an extremely creative person, I always knew I wanted my creativity implemented into what career I do
I considered broadcast journalism, remembering that growing up I always watched news anchors on TV and envisioned myself in their position one day. I also always loved performance. Acting has been a huge part of my life since around eight years old. I always knew that I wanted to potentially pursue it as a future career option. Knowing that communications includes the field of broadcasting and explores aspects of the entertainment industry such as tv/film production techniques, I finally felt in the right place.
I never knew much about communications before starting college and might not have learned as much as I do now if I didn’t attend that “Major Mentor Mixer” event freshman year. Now being a rising junior, while I still may not know my exact path after graduation, I know communication arts allows for a lot of potential possibilities.