Uncertainty is a natural part of the college experience

Elizabeth Braaten

You’re standing in line at Starbucks, walking to class with your headphones in and a smile on your face, or at 6th with your friends, when suddenly, that painfully uncomfortable, stomach lurching feeling of uncertainty hits. You try to suppress those negative thoughts, but soon you’re attacking yourself with questions that you have no real answers to. What am I really doing in college? Is what I’m majoring in actually how I want to spend the rest of my life? And if it’s not, where do I go from here?

As college students, it seems as if everywhere we turn, we are bombarded with the famous saying that these “are the best four years of our lives.” These words can seem cruel, as we constantly try to decide how to spend our Friday nights, let alone the next fifty years of our lives. What we all share, however, is a point in time where each of us feel completely lost and unsure of where to go. During these times of hopelessness, it’s helpful to remember that uncertainty in life is not only normal, but can be helped by the excellent resources offered through the university.

The decision to change majors is often anxiety-inducing for students, whether for fear of disappointing their parents or the belief that they’re too far along in their chosen path, even if they feel it’s not a good fit for them. Though this decision can trigger feelings of loneliness and isolation from peers that seem to have it all figured out, studies show that switching majors is not at all uncommon and actually produces positive results.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, about eighty percent of students change their major at least once during their college career, while on average, students switch majors an estimated three times before graduation. Furthermore, a study done by the Education Advisory Board found that college students who changed majors were about 4 percent more likely to graduate than students who did not.

These statistics demonstrate that changing majors while in school is not only normal, but can also have a positive impact on your success. Said junior Faith Simon on her decision to transfer from neuroscience to biology, “Ultimately, I think my decision to switch was smart. I don’t regret it  at all, and as a peer academic advisor on campus, I use my own fears and experiences to help freshmen who are also in that situation.”

If you’re feeling like you’re stuck in limbo, unsure if your chosen major is really for you, the Vick Center for Strategic Advising offers free, confidential major and career advising to all students Monday through Friday in Jester 115.

While feelings of disillusionment and uncertainty are inevitable in college, it helps to remember three things: you are not the first person that has ever questioned themselves, you are ultimately in control of how you spend your days, and your time here is meant to be spent discovering your passion just as much as a career.

Elizabeth Braaten is an international relations and global studies junior from Conroe.