The Freshman Experience: Undeclared and Unsure

test-prep-use-this-one.jpgI have no idea what I want to do with the rest of my life. And yes, I know there are others in the same boat. I know I don’t have to declare a major for another year, and I know there’s time. I’ve heard it all. But it doesn’t leave me any less nervous.

In some ways, I like the unclear path. I am taking classes because they sound interesting, not because they will help me complete a major. I am learning just because I want to, and my grades are just because I want to try my best, not because I know I am looking for a certain grad school or want to impress future employees. For all I know, I could be studying subjects which will be completely irrelevant to my future. So I have no pressure.

Except, I still have pressure. In some ways, it’s even more than I had in high school. Sure, it’s not like I know I have to get a certain GPA and do certain activities to get into college. But now that I’m here, I can’t believe there’s no more plan. I am the kind of person who plans out her entire future—not minute-by-minute or a 10-year-plan, more like a general idea of what’s to come– but now I have no concept of past college. All my life, I knew I was going to go to graduate high school and go to college. Now I’m here, and I can check that off the list.

What’s next? Grad school? An internship? A job? All I’ve ever done is be a student. I am good at that; I can study, write essays and take tests. I envy my friends who know what they want to be. One studies political science, so she wants to go into politics. One has a knack for design and math, and he’s planning on being an engineer.

I just like learning Spanish. But no, I don’t want to be a teacher, and right now I don’t think translating sounds that wonderful. I like writing, but I’m not betting on that being a life-long career. In fact, I like most of the subjects I learn, but none link directly to a career which catches my eye.

So here I am, one semester down, seven to go. And then what? Well, I guess I’ll figure that out soon, hopefully. But for now, I’ll settle for an undeclared student with no plans whatsoever except one part of her 10-year-plan: start planning one.



  1. Liz says:

    You’ve summed it all up perfectly. I feel the exact same way. This past Monday I started my second semester and in my College Writing class my professor made us introduce ourselves to the class. I felt like dashing out of the room when I said I was undeclared and others were financing and psychology majors.

  2. Jess says:

    I’m kind of in the same boat, except I’ve known what my major would be since 11th grade in high school. I just have no idea what I’m going to do once I get my BS. Grad school? Maybe. but then what? Research? Teaching? Skip grad school and go straight into industry? Maybe, but doing what? I have no idea.

    It’s a good thing you like learning. If you didn’t things would be a lot harder!

  3. Jacks says:

    I graduated and I still don't know what I want to do. Don't worry about it too much, just enjoy college.

  4. em says:

    I feel your pain, although you seem pretty calm about matters. I, on the other hand, am generally consumed with the fact that I don’t have a major and don’t know what I’m doing with my life. In this unending process I have learned so much about different majors that I feel like I should just become a college counselor.

  5. Beth says:

    Exactly the same. I found a major that's very easy to get and that I love-but I need to find another major to go along with it so that I'll actually have a job when I graduate without having to go to tons of grad school.

  6. Dina says:

    Let us know when you decide what you'll do!

    I'm curious- because I'm a high school senior waiting for admissions letters. And I like Spanish too :).

  7. Amanda says:

    I didnt know what i wanted to do either upin entering college. It was nice. Before i figured it out i got to take a buch of courses i would have never taken if i had a plan. You miss out a lot with a plan i think. BUT… when i took random classes a realized i wanted to be a religion major. It was the only thing i was truly interested in enough to study for years and excel in. So… what do you do when you have a major but your 120,000$(minimum) degree wont get you anywhere? haha.

  8. Bill Pratt says:

    Definitely try to do something you enjoy. It's also not a bad idea to do something that is employable as well (just to give you more options). Remember, your college degree makes you marketable, what you do with it makes you successful. Try to get an internship or two. It will let you see first hand if you are on the right career path (I switched from pre-med to economics!). Good luck!

    Bill Pratt, Author of The Graduate's Guide to Life and Money (

  9. dana says:

    Believe me, I'm in the same boat. I just finished my first semester at college and although I started with a major, Aerospace Engineering, I have recently changed it to undecided. I have no idea what I want to do and I'm not sure how to go about finding my career. I honestly can't see myself doing any job that has been suggested to me. Being a student is all that I have ever done!

  10. Lauren, University o says:

    I thought I knew what I wanted to do, so I declared my major early and got my degree that I always wanted: education and english.

    Looking back, though, all of my favorite classes in college have been history. I chose too soon and now its too late to go back. Don't make that mistake.

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