As a kid, I had a plethora of interests and goals that I hoped to achieve, ranging from discovering hidden artifacts to becoming the President of the United States. I was always curious and loved to learn about new people, places, and ideas.
In middle school and high school, this translated into involving myself in just about everything from sports to choir to the school newspaper. The best part of those middle and high school years was that I had the ability and the time to do everything I had a passion for. So what changed?
I am sure that most of us have found something we believe that we want to do for the rest of our lives, such as being a doctor or becoming a musician, and we carry that with us until we actually have to make that choice. When most of us begin our senior year of high school, college career counselors have already started inquiring about what jobs we are hoping to have once we are out of school. But at eighteen, do we really know what we want to do with the rest of our lives? I didn't, which is why I chose to go into college with an Undeclared Major.
In his book titled "Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World", David Epstein explains that in our world, it is more beneficial to explore a wide variety of activities and specialize later on, rather than picking something and sticking with it. I couldn't agree more. By dabbling in multiple career areas early on rather than settling for one, we are able to learn more about ourselves and our skill sets, and then willingly choose where we think it is best to utilize those skills. I do believe this could potentially create more jobs in our world, but more importantly, taking our time to find what we really want to do could assist employers in gaining employees who enjoy their career because they didn't settle early on.
If you still don't believe me, Epstein was able to persuade Malcom Gladwell, author of "Outliers", away from Gladwell's own 10,000 hour principle, which argues that 10,000 hours of practice of the same activity is a determinant of success.
Coming into college, I had no idea what I wanted to focus my strengths on. I was nervous because of my lack of willingness to settle. After taking some general education courses and getting involved in different activities, I discovered that my true passion lies in education and that my strengths embed easily into the field; this led me to declare myself as an Elementary Education major in my sophomore year of college.
As I am about to embark on my senior year where I will begin student teaching, I can honestly say that waiting to declare my major gave me the necessary time I needed to learn about my strengths and weaknesses, to apply myself in a wide variety of areas, and ultimately guide me to what I am most passionate about.
Whether you have declared your major or have yet to consider one, consider giving yourself some time to experience a little bit of everything before settling; you won't regret it.