a man says no

I might not know what I want, but there are some majors that are definitely not for me.

During your first year at college, you will constantly get asked about your major. At Winona State, the two answers you will hear most often are nursing or education. But that’s not my story. I do not have a declared major right now, and quite honestly, sometimes I feel ashamed telling people that when they seem to be confidently pursuing such challenging and specific majors. I mean, how are we supposed to know what we want to do with our lives at 18 years old? When I was just starting college, this demand for an answer seemed so overwhelming.

The truth is that freshmen often begin as an undecided major, and it is a route that seems to be working for me. Actually an undeclared major is pretty great because you have an opportunity to explore your many interests. I love taking a wide variety of classes in a semester and there are always a few that I really enjoy. As a result, I do well in those classes and learning is the ultimate goal, right? Currently, I have no idea what I want to major in, but I do have an idea of a few things that I don’t want pursue for my major.

Many people come to Winona State because of our great Nursing and Health Sciences program, but nursing is not for me. I admire the medical field so much, but I don’t do well competitively and so the possibility of not making it into the highly selective Nursing Program would be too much for me to handle. In addition, I’ve never been gifted in the science department, so the struggle I had in my high school chemistry and biology classes would translate into hardships in that field. I am inspired by the strength, compassion and dedication that people who become nurses possess, but I cannot realistically see myself becoming a nurse.

I’ve also realized that I won’t be declaring an English major. I have struggled with academic writing for the majority of my years in school because essay writing gives me a lot of anxiety and I never seem to improve. I have English 111 this semester, and it is by far the hardest class I have, even though it is the intro English class. I just have a hard time with how there is not one specific way to write an essay, unlike the single correct solution to a math problem (although I don’t like math either). I do love creative writing, though, which is why I enjoy activities like blogging. I like the freedom in creative writing and the ways its more “forgiving” than academic writing, so some sort of writing field may be in my future.

I encourage you to not let people pressure you into making the decision about your major before you’re ready. Personally, I can really struggle in school, so when I find a path that has classes I enjoy and do well in, I take full advantage of that and see where it takes me. I’ve heard that switching majors, although sometimes the best option, is quite a pain and a hassle, so why not take a little extra time to explore your options so you make the right choice the first time? It’s ok to be undeclared!

–Liz Doyle

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Elizabeth Doyle

Elizabeth plans to graduate in 2018 but she's currently deciding which major to pursue. Her hometown in Minneapolis, MN and her hobbies include blogging on Tumblr, singing in choir and reading Harry Potter.

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