By Christopher Santini
If people could major in indecisiveness, I think that I’d probably be the first person declared in that field.
I entered Purchase College as an undeclared student in the fall of 2015, my freshman year. At holiday gathering or dinners my family would hound me with the quintessential “How’s school going?” type-banter. When I eventually got around to telling them I was undeclared, the responses were mixed. Some of my more expectant family members told me to declare a major as soon as possible, while my brothers (one of whom attended Purchase), cousins, etc. told me to take my sweet time. While I’ll admit that telling my friends and family that I was an undeclared major didn’t inspire much confidence in them or myself, more than anything, I was excited to be able to explore whatever field of study I wanted. Even still, I never thought my future would be promised, especially when most of my days were being spent playing Super Smash Brothers and chain smoking. But, believe it or not, there are silver linings! So, in hopes that it’ll help anyone in a similar boat, I’ve listed some thoughts about being an undeclared student.
- First and foremost, take advantage of the benefits of being undeclared. Two years is more than enough time to satisfy your core requirements, and there are more than enough classes to choose from. Dabbling in a bit of everything helped me hone in on a subject that I could really see myself doing. You never do know when hand drumming is going to come in handy.
- Find out what you want to do. You’re a free bird, so feel free to fly wherever you’d like. Naturally, your friends and family want what’s best for you and they may make strong suggestions about a major. Everyone will have a strong opinion. Trust me, that goes for more than just this instance. Regardless of their arguments, the choice to declare a major is ultimately yours, so just make sure it’s something you’re passionate about.
- Talk to other people who are undeclared! I can’t begin to imagine how many of my own friends without majors had the same trepidations about choosing a career path as I did. Observing those similarities and how they eventually came to a choice made it easier for me to figure out, to some extent, not only what I want in life, but also what major would help me achieve those goals.
- Never play yourself. No matter how much you may doubt your ability to excel in a program that seems out of reach, but that you love, persist. Persist against all odds. It’s a cliché, but what if Chris Gardner stopped trying to provide for him and his son? Or if Michael Jordan quit playing basketball after getting kicked off his high school team? Or if Jack Nicholson took his ex-agent’s advice when he was told he had “no business in acting?” The world is full of hope and people are full of potential. Carpe diem!