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Deciding on My Future - Declaring a College Major

Updated: Jan 5, 2021

by Agatha Swituszak, Product Specialist

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” becomes more of a stressful question in college. What did I want to be? At the college level, we are all forced to answer that question, the answer leading us down a career path arguably for the rest of our lives. Just recently, I decided to declare my major: secondary education with a concentration in Earth Science. Finding the path to your passion is not always easy but it is important to stick with what you love for your major, as it will be a part of your life for years to come.

I had always known that I wanted to teach. I did not however know what subject I wanted to study. That was until my senior year of high school, when I took a marine biology course. This class reimagined what it was like to learn and be a student. Field trips to salt marshes to catch crabs, drawing shark anatomy on the desks with markers, and using perfumes to demonstrate fish mating pheromones, the class was unconventional in every way. I had loved every day of it. You never knew what was going to happen when you walked in the door, maybe a VR trip to the coral reef or getting to feed the crabs in the fish tanks. As the year ended, I had found that I had learned so much from that class. Not only about marine biology, but what it meant to be a passionate teacher and the impact that had on students.

Going to college with a good idea of what I wanted to do was helpful, but not at all necessary. It allowed for me to get a head start and began taking Earth Science courses immediately. Once I completed the mandatory General Education courses and met GPA requirements (which are obtainable as long as you study and put effort in), I began the application process.

Applying can be intimidating. I was tasked with a 2 page opinionated paper on what makes teachers effective, something I had no real answer about. I was the first among my friends to apply so I was the guinea pig, I would have to figure everything out about this application process and then help them next semester when they wrote their papers (which I am currently doing). When I finished my paper and submitted it, I had to wait three months to hear back from anyone. I was nervous that they had denied my application and just did not have the heart to tell me.

When I did get my acceptance email I was overjoyed. I had finally committed to a major and set up my academic path for the future. It is not the end of the world if you realize you do not like your major after getting into the program or if you take your time before deciding on a major. It is better to try it, not like it, and switch out to something else you like, rather than to never try it at all or fear that changing majors in the middle of college will “leave you behind”. College is all about finding who you are, what you love, and how that can be applied to your future career.


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