Declaring a Major: What You Need to Know

For those of us experiencing the dreaded Sophomore Slump that has awaited us since we stepped on campus as doe-eyed freshman, a turning point in our academic careers is upon us: declaring a major.

Whether you’ve known your intended major since  birth, or you’re still figuring things out in the comfort of the Department of  Undergraduate Studies, it can be intimidating to suddenly have to put down on paper where you’re going with this whole “college thing.” But one thing all of us have to remember as E-Lion reminders haunt our dreams and the cut-off date approaches: don’t freak out. Juniors, seniors and super seniors abound have gone through this before, it’s nothing life threatening. Feeling a bit uneasy is totally normal.

“When declaring a major, I experienced all different emotions,” says junior broadcast journalism major Tom Kopania. “First, there was a sense of relief that I made up my mind and found the path I needed to focus on. Then, there was doubt about if this major was for me, if I could handle the work and what the job outlook was going to be after school.”

After the initial shell-shock of emotions, comes the logistics. Before February 13th rolls around, take the time to think about your academic plans and career goals. It’s important to pinpoint not only what you’re good at, but what you enjoy doing. No one wants to be stuck in a major or job they’ll regret for the rest of their lives. Don’t be a Chandler Bing. Be a Ross Geller.

For those two steps ahead but doubting their major-of-choice, dig deeper. Find what you’re passionate about, and run with it. In the extreme case that you want to make a complete turn around with your major, meet with an advisor ASAP. It may not feel like it, but there’s still time to explore different options. Take the opportunity to do so while you still can.

On the other side of the spectrum is those who still have no idea what direction they’re going. You may feel about as lost as Oceanic Flight 815 (LOST, anyone? I’m sorry – it was too easy), but everyone has to start somewhere. Your foothold? Campus involvement.

“The best thing to do is get involved on campus with clubs and internships.” says College of Communications Lead Advisor Kyrie Harding. “You need to get involved, you need to try things out. You’re going to take the classes – absolutely. But a lot times, your major core classes don’t come until junior or senior year. Right now, you need to get involved to see what you’re really interested in.”

It may seem overwhelming right now, but with a little initiative and self-exploration, you’ll soon be laughing about how stressful this whole situation seemed.


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