Picking a Major: How Soon Is Too Soon?
Updated: Feb 27
As children progress into young adults and undergo the trials and tribulations of getting an education, they are all asked the same age old question; what do you want to be when you grow up? While learning about the future can be helpful in preparing children for what is to come, how far is too far in pushing our future generations into making lifelong decisions at such a young age, that they may even regret later?
For most, what children want to do will change overtime as they grow and find their identity. We choose our career based on numerous factors such as our likes, dislikes, personality traits, and how we identify. Despite this, it is a common expectation for students to have their lives mapped out by the end of senior year, before the start of college--even though college is where people truly find themselves because this is where most learn to be independent. It almost seems absurd that we have to know how we will be spending the rest of our lives before we even know who we truly are.
When asked if she knew what she wanted to do in the future, Junior Sumerlyn Dawson explains that she thought she had it figured out but has “recently found joy in many other things that can be applied to industry." She believes she speaks on behalf of many other students who feel this way as well.
There are many factors that play into the ever growing weight students feel to decide what their future career is. Most colleges require you to pick a major to finish the admissions process. A lot of the pressure also comes from society, peers, and often parents. Understandably, they may be worried that not knowing your major could add years of schooling and will consequently costs more money. However, in the long run, this could be a main factor of why students are pressured to make impulsive, quick decisions and end up
being unhappy later in life.
“Changing the process of how our future’s are addressed should be the first step in fixing this issue” says Columbus High student, Maddie Cox. “I believe a good start would be to offer more future readiness classes or more classes that introduce potential careers. But it isn’t just Columbus. All students across the globe experience this”
For all the anxiety surrounding the impending decision we all must make, it’s likely we will change our mind. On average, almost a third of all college students end up changing their major. So statistically, there is no reason to get worked up about not knowing exactly what you plan to do in college.
Students today are told to follow their passions and find a mission in life, but in reality, very few 18 year olds know exactly what their future holds or what they truly care about. Much of this is because they haven’t experienced enough to know the answers yet. This is what college is for, to find out what you are good at and what you could do for a living. It’s okay to not be sure of what is next because there is time, but we must always work to figure it out.