College is the time for being lost and confused

It's okay not to know exactly what you're doing with your life in college

When you first arrived at ASU, you were around 18 years old — the entire world was in front of you, and you were a moron. Or at least I was. I went to exactly one half of an orientation, skipped all other freshman activities and avoided any college-related emails like most people avoid Facebook posts by racist family members.

As I rambled around campus that first day, praying to God or Satan that I could reach Schwada from Discovery in five minutes, I began to question every life decision I had ever made. Why didn’t I walk around campus one time before the semester started? When did vaping become so popular? But most importantly, how did I choose my major and what am I doing with my life?

Two years, a stint as an exploratory major and another major change later, I can now say that my life is still one never-ending existential crisis. Knowing that college is the best time to be lost and confused makes this a little more tolerable. 

Fifty to seventy percent of college students will change their major at some point, and everyday we are surrounded by people going through the exact same problems, trying desperately to act like they have everything under control. But in all honesty, we would all be much better off if we stopped acting like everything was okay and admitted that everything is uncertain at this point in our lives. Not only that, but being able to live and learn with this innate fear of the future might actually help us become well-rounded adults.

There is just one thing in the way of this paradise of the lost: the entire college experience. From the moment you enroll in college, you are met with external forces pressuring you to decide your entire life. Forces like political pundits encouraging students to go into the so-called ‘profitable’ fields or the seemingly harmless family friend grilling you about your major.

These forces forget one very important thing — that college students are essentially unformed adults. The first 18 years of life are filled with people telling you exactly what and how to study. And asking a person who just perfected their technique of turning apples into smoking receptacles to declare their entire life is an absurd, outdated idea.

Luckily for ASU students, there is a better option for those without a clue: the exploratory major. During my time as an exploratory major, I was forced to take classes like UNI 150, a one-credit-hour class in which I took personality tests and visited the various advising offices. While this may seem like a waste of time, it made me take a closer look at what I wanted to do and what it would take to get that done. It taught me how to learn and thrive as a college student. 

According to assistant director of first year programs Robert Monahan, that is exactly what the exploratory program is designed to do. 

“We hope to help students create context with their decisions and help them articulate why they made those decisions," Monahan said. 

So while the rest of the world may seem like it is forcing you to make all your life decisions simultaneously, I strongly believe that sometimes the best option is not to decide all at once.

College is a big decision for a lot of people, a decision that costs an extravagant amount of money.  Don’t let anyone pressure you into planning your entire future, and never be afraid to explore your options at ASU.


Reach the columnist at  agrafil@asu.edu or follow @alecgrafil on Twitter.

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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