For Freshmen. By Freshmen.
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Jul 13 2016
by Meghan Field

7 Ways To Have a Productive Year When You're Undecided

By Meghan Field - Jul 13 2016

If you are anything like me, you definitely do not know what you want to study in college right off the bat. I have a general idea, so that is helpful in my case. Picking a major to start off in was pretty tough; I already had to change it twice. Applying to a particular college within a college for me was extremely nerve-racking. Since I have an interest in the sciences and healthcare, I kept bouncing back and forth between the College of Health and Human Development where I would study kinesiology, the College of Science where I would study biology and the College of Liberal Arts where I would study Psychology. Fortunately, I was able to decide to start by studying biology in the College of Science, but I'll probably change my major time and time again. Thank goodness I do not have to declare my actual major until the end of sophomore year, like many other colleges. So if you are in the same boat as me don't fret, you have time.

1. Create a list of majors.

The best advice I can give to you if you are undecided is to begin to compile a list of all of the possible majors your college offers. Research and read about each one and if you have zero interest in it, then cross it off of your list. At least then you can begin to narrow down where your true interests lie.


2. Research entrance to major requirements.

Most colleges operate under an "entrance to major" type of scenario. All this means is that in order to officially declare your major, there are prerequisites that are mandatory that you have to take until you are allowed to officially declare that major. Go on your college's website and make sure that you are looking at the recommended academic plans for each major you are interested in and see if there are any classes that overlap. If so, your first semester is the perfect time to try out certain classes in areas you really like to see if you indeed do have an interest in said subject.


3. Make the most out of classes available to you.

Another reason being undecided your freshman year is totally okay is due to the amount of "freshman" courses that every freshman is required to take their first year. The most common ones are a certain English class, math class, science class and a public speaking class. Since future employers like to see a student that is well rounded, don't be afraid to take other courses that might interest you during the first semester as well, such as a foreign language or theatre class. Even though most of your credits your first year are spoken for, it is on you to make sure you fill up your extra electives with courses of interest.


4. Scout out your interests.

In order to further see where you might want to end up doing in the long run, join clubs that you find cool or beneficial starting your freshman year. It definitely will look better if you partake in a club during all four years of college rather than waiting later to join. If you have an interest in research, join a research club. If you have an interest in performing, join a dance club, acting club or singing group. If you have an interest in writing, join your colleges newspaper. What I'm trying to say is don't sit around your freshman year. Take advantage of your opportunities that arise to help you make a decision sooner rather than later when it comes to what you want to study.


5. Take advantage of your college's career center.

I can't stress enough how important it is to visit your college's career center as soon as you step foot on campus. The people working there are able to help guide you in the right direction and get you to start thinking about what you might want to do in your future. How cool is that? You have a third party at your disposal waiting to help you make decisions. That is certainly a huge plus and something you want to take advantage of.


6. Become buddy-buddy with your advisor.

College advisors play a similar role, but unless you go out of your way to contact them with questions about whether you are on the right track or not, you could be lost. Don't assume that you can make your schedule manageable and be able to pick out meaningful classes all by yourself. These people can give you the best advice and it is important to visit them at least three or so times a semester to get your name out there.


7. Take others advice, but not too much.

I do caution you, however, to be wary while taking other students advice. Of course it is completely acceptable to talk to your peers and see what path they are starting to pursue. Heck, certain people even know what career they want and how they are going to do everything in their power to assure that they are going to land that job upon graduation or grad school. While it might seem feasible to think to yourself, "I really want to do what this person is doing! They appear to have their whole life planned out," most of the time you will not end up liking what they are doing. This goes for picking classes as well. Just because someone says, "Oh my goodness! This class was an easy A," that is most likely because the person had a genuine interest in the class whereas you may find the class extremely difficult because you have no interest whatsoever of the class. So, the same goes for trying to copy exactly what another person is doing because that can hurt you in the long run.


Have fun. Learn what you like. Narrow in on where you can see yourself in five or 10 years. Don't stress too much. It is only freshmen year, so you should be having fun with one of the biggest transitions of your life while still striving to do well in all that you do. Find something you love and have a fond interest in, and go from there. Best of luck, my fellow freshmen. You'll do great, I promise.

Lead Image Credit: Warner Bros. Television

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Meghan Field - Pennsylvania State University

Meghan is a sophomore at Penn State - University Park. She's from Hershey, PA. She is going to major in Biobehavioral Health and Psychology with a minor in Global Health. She has been dancing her whole life and has always had an interest in writing and anything science related. Instagram is @meghanfield.

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