Students should not feel pressured to declare their major early
By LUKE ENGBERT
When I was a child, I always remembered being asked “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Questions like these were always slightly annoying to me. Even as I got much older and was going through high school, the worst of these questions started popping up- “What do you want to study in college?” and it would aggravate me regularly. When I got to college, it did not stop. “What do you want to major in?” is one question that I hear all the time.
It is a question that many students get, since a good number of college students don’t declare their major until the end of their sophomore year. Of course, there are also those who know what they wish to pursue the moment they begin college, but a student does not really need to know his or her major immediately.
College is a time of transition, ready to enter the workforce and face the world. As such, college is an opportunity to discover one’s interests academically speaking. The various academic subjects prepare the student to enter a specific field of employment in most instances. When one enters college, regardless of whether or not they know what they wish to do with their life, the classes they take will broaden their perspective and perhaps give them new ideas for the future.
This is why general education courses are so important. In the broadest way possible, they offer students a sample of each of the main fields of study available, such as sciences, math or English, etc. General education classes, in a sense, force students to examine more than just that which they are particularly interested in at that time. Since many general education courses are taken over the first few semesters, students should have some breathing space to discover their interests and decide on a major.
However, there still seems to still be a bit of pressure to choose a major as soon as possible. People become so set on working towards one particular career path that they forget that college is a learning experience. Life is not all about money, one should take what one has been blessed to learn and experience in college for all it is worth. Learning may not always make you a richer person, but it will make you a better person. Especially at a liberal arts school like UMW, liberal arts plant values in students that will serve them in every asset of life.
As an undeclared major then it is really not such a bad thing,as long as one is applying themselves diligently to their academics. After a few semesters of experimenting, everyone will discover a major that is a good fit for them. Therefore, don’t start panicking if everyone else knows what they want to study but you do not.
The other point to consider is the value of a degree by itself. Regardless of the major, as long as one comes out with a degree, they are given that much better of a chance at acquiring a good job. All that aside, however, the primary purpose of college is to teach students to think, to become independent, assertive and mature adults. As long as one is striving for these qualities in school, whether or not they declare a major right off the bat is of no importance.