This I believe
The question, “What do you want to be when you’re older?” is asked in Kindergarten. I’ve been asked what I hope to accomplish, where I want to live, or simply which restaurant I want to eat at. Question after question requires constant decision-making. I’d like to say I’m a decisive individual, but as I begin my transition into college, I’ve faced questions I can’t provide an answer to. I feel as though career decision-making is overrated and over-pressured, as it forces a set-in-stone mindset; I almost feel guilty for flipping back and forth between decisions. My major, career path, social involvements, and club and class interests contain decisions that are made to change, yet I feel held down to make one definite decision. The only decision I am choosing to make is to refocus my career and education on experimenting with my interests rather than definitively declaring them. Making decisions regarding the college topic forces me to label my life, restricting room for healthy mindset growth. I believe that indecisiveness regarding career decision-making is acceptable.
This past week I went to college orientation at the University of Florida and was asked the same three questions by new students I met. One, “What’s your name?” Two, “Where are you from?” I could answer these easily. But to answer question three, “What’s your major?” I was conflicted. If I can’t decide on the job I want post-college, how can I decide what I want to study? I ended up telling one group of students I’m pursuing business management in the College of Business, but on the second day of orientation, my response was an economics pre-law major in the College of Liberal Arts. And I can’t forget the fact that just a few months prior I was determined to begin the pre-dental path. It’s very evident that my decisions regarding my career are constantly swaying in every direction.
But what’s wrong with being indecisive? There is a false assumption that indecisiveness leads to unproductiveness. Hesitation relating to career choice is common and shouldn’t be viewed negatively. I feel like my generation tries to rush the career decision process due to our competitive nature. However, I’ve realized that being indecisive early on grants time to thoroughly form confident decisions in the future. With career decisions, I believe that I shouldn’t have to declare one specific major and career path before I begin my first college semester; I shouldn’t have to make a decision on something that I haven’t tried out yet. Constantly switching around from majors taints the credibility of my word, causing me to lose trust in myself. As my lack of confidence in my career is revealed, I’ve grown hesitant and embarrassed. Regardless of how easy it can be to switch between majors, the added guilt and stress that comes as I decide and re-decide is discouraging.
This was my mindset entering orientation. But as I reflect on the past two days, I feel a sense of reassurance. I’ve realized that I am a part of a large student body who are all facing the same dilemma. I’ve listened to college graduates explain how they are still making decisions about their careers. I’ve learned how colleges provide programs like exploratory majors and career workshops/counseling so that students don’t have to make a career decision alone. Ironically, some colleges themselves are aware and agree with the idea that career decision-making is overrated. I’m pleased to feel heard and supported, as I now understand that the decisions I make in college are not set in stone. In reality, I have the opportunity and time to sample a wide variety of classes in multiple schools within my first year.
This past week I feared the start of college but after my experience at orientation, I’ve been encouraged to shift my focus from finalizing my major to exploring my passions. It’s the small steps- joining clubs and taking classes of interest- that will eventually lead me to the clarity of what I want to pursue. I overexaggerated the need to declare a major right away. Labeling my career path is a guide to a possible future; however, it is not the focus of my college experience. I am prepared to embark on my college journey with a clear and open mind. I’ve accepted the idea that any career-related decision doesn’t have to be final immediately. After all, I believe in the flexibility of choosing my future.