Choosing a college major is not the same thing as choosing a career!

Once we hit high school and even before that, we started hearing the question that we all hate: "What do you want to be when you grow up?" I have half the credits that I need in order to graduate, and I still hate that question. Frankly, I have no idea what I'm going to do with my life - and neither do tons of other college students! It's definitely not unusual for people to be halfway (or more) through their college career and still have no particular career objective in mind.

The list of majors on any university's website is super intimidating, I'll agree with you there. But I promise that when it comes down to it, especially when enrolling as a freshman, choosing a major isn't as big of a deal as people make it out to be. I've met more than a handful of people who came in with their major "Undecided" and are glad they did - it gave them an opportunity to take classes from a bunch of different departments and helped them determine the areas that they are most interested in. Besides, even if you do choose a major, it's no big deal if you're unhappy with it. People change majors all the time! I have a friend who has switched from Physics to Biology to Linguistics and Spanish - and he's a freshman! You have more time than you think to decide what you're into, and changing majors really isn't a big deal.

When someone hits me with the career question, I usually respond with "I plan on going to grad school." It's true - I'm a science major, so grad school is most likely in my future, regardless of whether I determine my intended career before then. One of my main points here is to help you realize that choosing your college major is NOT the end-all-be-all decision that determines the course of your life. While it is important to figure out what you're interested in, you don't need to base all of your college decisions around that.

The first year or two of the college experience (and part of college culture) is to be a sort of exploration period. Don't focus everything on trying to decide your life history before you're even twenty (unless you're pre-med, in which case you should go ahead and sacrifice your life to the library.) Take classes that you're interested in! Even if it's not necessarily in the field of your major or intended major, taking classes from other departments will help you to make sure that your major is really what you want to study; and if it turns out that you like another department even better, then that only helps you realize it sooner than you may have otherwise.

Jesse, a fellow blogger, recently posted about this subject as well, and offers this advice: "Yes, there are times when I wonder if it will all work out, but here's the secret: I have confidence that I can figure it out when it comes time to get a job." (Read Jesse's blog here: /blog/the-pad/dont-know-what-you-want-to-do-dont-worry.) Don't stress - enjoy yourself!

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