Why it’s okay to not know what your college major should be right away

With choosing a college major, it's okay to not know right away


As an 18-year-old student, trying to figure out what you want to do for the next 40-50 years of your life can seem impossible — and frankly, it is! You’ve spent your entire life focused on studying and learning things that our education system requires that you must, and for good reason. You needed a foundation, and you needed to be exposed to a wide variety of academic subjects in order to develop your mind, build awareness of your strengths and weaknesses and experience many different things. 

A funny thing happens once you graduate high school and start college. For the first time in your life, you’re given the freedom to study whatever you want! Sure, there are some general education requirements that schools require — but the bulk of what you study, how you study and when you study is entirely in your hands. This freedom can feel quite liberating at first, but it often evolves into worry — when you can do anything, sometimes it’s hard to pick just one thing.

We’re here to tell you that it’s not worth that worry. Not only is it totally normal to not know what to major in, but it’s completely, 100 percent okay to not know. Here are three reasons why.

1. It may not feel like it, but you still have lots of time

We live in a highly motivated and driven society, and sometimes there’s a tendency to think that you have to do something now or you’ll be left behind. Or, you might feel like you need to make a decision now before you lose your chance.

But one of the most important things to realize is that it’s better to take some time to figure it all out before you fully commit to something you’re unsure of. Indecisiveness and uncertainty aren’t always bad things! It’s easy to be swallowed up by societal pressure that makes you think you need to have it all figured out right now. But you don’t! So take a deep breath.

2. You mature in college, and oftentimes, so do your dreams

College is a time to figure a lot of stuff out. During this period of self-discovery, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that everyone but you has their life, dreams and interests in order. The truth is that most people don’t! And again, that’s okay. Maybe you’ve been dancing your entire life and just assumed you’d go to college for dance. Well, maybe during your freshmen year of college you discover that while dancing means a lot to you, it’s not what you want to do for the rest of your life and it’s not what you want to pursue professionally.

3. Most college students switch their major at least once while in school

Believe it or not, more than 60 percent of college graduates would change their majors if they could go back. You might realize after your freshman year that you no longer want to go to law school, but you’re really interested in graphic design. Or, perhaps you’ve lost your passion for the arts but you’ve discovered an intense desire to learn about biochemistry. The great news — you’re not stuck! You have the opportunity and capability to explore, pursue and succeed in new areas of study. If you’re unsure of what you want to study, don’t rush into choosing a major. It’s also important to remember that switching majors doesn’t mean you’ve wasted time in school. In many ways, having the opportunity to dabble in different areas of study will ultimately make you a more well-rounded person!

This is why finding a school with a strong liberal arts curriculum is so valuable. No matter what major you end up pursuing, a liberal arts curriculum will help you develop a solid academic foundation that will enable you to become a proficient learner — a key characteristic you’ll need no matter what job or career the future has in store for you.

Having the opportunity to learn and study about the things that actually excite and interest you presents the chance to broaden your academic horizons and, ultimately, find your home in the field of study that you are most passionate about. Again, it’s okay to not have it all figured out. You’ll be trying to figure things out for the rest of your life — allow yourself the time to explore and experience radically new things, with few strings attached.