With May 1 quickly approaching, high school seniors across the country are frantically trying to decide where to spend the next four years. To some, May 1 is known as “decision day.” That decision could potentially impact the rest of their lives.
This time of the year leaves me nostalgic of my own college selection process and the journey that landed me at the University of Wisconsin.
At 17 years old, we are expected to apply to colleges with our sights set on one specific career. It is no longer a “dream job,” but a career you are actively pursuing.
It was expected I knew what I wanted to study for at least four years, possibly a few more in graduate school and then for the rest of my life in my job.
To me, this is a ridiculous expectation.
I learned more about myself in one year of college than I had learned in the previous 18 years. After one year, I had the clarification I needed for my career and life goals.
I am so grateful I chose UW. This school has so many strong programs. This school gives students like myself the opportunity to be a cliché college student and change my major.
Since my sophomore year of high school, I was set on majoring in marketing. I saw it as the creative major within a stable business degree. I did not even question applying to schools that had other strengths. It was all about business.
In fact, of all of the universities I was accepted to, UW was the only school I was not already in the business school. But I still chose it with the assumption that I would later pursue entrance into the “B-school.”
That one year of not having a set major and having the opportunity to explore what UW has to offer changed my life.
I found a passion for journalism in my introductory course and a hatred for business in my prerequisites.
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Even in the beginning of my sophomore year, I was pursuing business. I was so unhappy and felt no passion for the work, but this desire to keep pushing through was engrained in me because of an idea I had four years ago.
I realized I could not justify pursuing something simply because I had once felt it could be a good idea. I would not settle.
I am now happily majoring in journalism with a double-track in strategic communication and reporting.
After internships, positions in organizations, college classes and personal growth, I am confident this is the path for me. This is what I am meant to do with the rest of my life.
I wish I had gone into college undecided. Why did I never consider it? Frankly, I didn’t think it was a real option.
There is a stigma about going into college undecided. Over time, “undecided” has become a dirty word. But it should not be looked at in any sort of negative way.
If your dream job is the same thing it was when you were 3 years old, I applaud you. But I am fairly certain at some point in your life you will question if a different option would have been a better fit. One might wonder if the grass is greener on the other side.
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Being undecided gives you the chance to sample the countless options. It gives you the opportunity to find yourself — your adult self — and pursue what is best for this new you.
Once you have the needed clarity, you can pursue a major you know is meant for you.
At 17 years old, I was overwhelmed enough with trying to choose a college I felt was the perfect fit.
But the concept of knowing what you want to do even beyond those four years at such a young age is absolutely outrageous.
Claudia Meyer-Samargia ([email protected]) is a sophomore majoring in strategic communication and journalism with a certificate in digital studies.