There's so many things running through your mind before your first year of college: being away from home for the first time, making a new group of friends, finding your way around campus – and perhaps the most pressing of all, what you're going to major in.
There can be a lot of pressure on college students to declare a major in their first year. We feel like we have to know exactly what we want to do for the rest of our lives or we're somehow behind the eight ball. Since kindergarten, we're constantly asked, "what do you want to be when you grow up?" So we go into college feeling like we're expected to know where our lives are going at eighteen, nineteen years-old, which is a tall order for anyone.
There are many reasons to put off declaring a major for the first one even two years. One of the main ones being that you probably have no idea what you want to be doing for the rest of your life. Most colleges don't require you to declare a major until the end of your sophomore year, so you have some time to explore. Join some clubs that sound interesting, take a course in something that's always intrigued you. You have the time to slow down and really absorb everything around you, so take advantage of it! Taking this time will really give you a chance to find out what you really enjoy, so that by the time the end of sophomore year comes around you feel confident declaring a major.
A second reason to really take your time is a more practical one: time and money. If you declare a major too quickly and end up deciding it's not something you really want to do you run the risk of ending up with lots of credits that won't transfer and an extra one or two years in school. Your first two years are a really great time to get all your general education courses out of the way. Things like your required history, English, science and math courses. The great thing is that most colleges have a wide array of classes that will meet these requirements, so it's another great way to explore subjects that interest you. Plus, when you finally decide on a major your last two years can be spent all on classes that you really enjoy!
A third reason is plenty of time for research and planning. If a program you would potentially like to get into requires a certain GPA, knowing that in advance can give you time to plan accordingly and make sure you have your GPA in a good place before declaring your major. Better to know what you're getting into than to be surprised later!
College is a time of self-discovery and finding what you really want in life. Take your time, don't rush and most of all, enjoy the journey!
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