What am I doing with my life?: the ubiquitous question asked by all college students.
For many, myself included, college is the time to find the answer to this question. When I started college, I had no idea what I wanted to do. I took classes for my GE and dabbled in specific classes to see what I might want to do down the road.
It’s not an easy decision. You have the rest of your life to consider. The deeper you get into a major, the more you have to commit. I’ve been a firm believer of your collegiate career being the time for intense self-exploration. I think most of my peers would concur.
It pains me to say it, but those days of intellectual exploration are slowly dissipating. The ability to take a culinary class, music class and botany in the same semester is no longer possible if you want to finish school in only four years.
Budget cuts and an overload in enrollment have forced colleges to make some serious changes to the way things are done. Right now, college education is in a coma.
A great example of this is Proposition 30 in California. To summarize, Prop 30 a proposed income tax increase on those earning $250,000 or more a year. The money from this increase would all go towards education funding and balancing the budget. If Prop 30 is rejected, it will trigger a series of spending reductions that could cost California schools billions of dollars.
It’s not as much a question of right or wrong so much as it is what you believe in. If the money doesn’t go to schools, it goes somewhere else. We’re leaving the funding of our school system up to a ”yes” or ” no” decision. That should give you an indication of where education lies as a national priority.
In a lot of schools, high school seniors are encouraged to establish a concrete plan for college as far as major. This is because a lot of colleges require you to have a concrete plan to get in. You want to stick your fingers in a few pots and see what one’s best for you? Too bad. That ship has sailed.
If funding gets cut, many of the programs that allow students to explore their interests will be cut in favor of the concrete ones that help students get into college.
Colleges want you to take only the units you need for whatever major you decided on before you got there, nothing more. Tired of comparative literature? Too bad. Blame your 17-year-old self.
Whether or not you should be forced to pick a major before you attend college is not the main issue though. The main issue is being able to get the education you’re paying for. Are we paying for a decision that we might as well have picked out of a hat and hoping it works out?
Sure, some people know exactly what they want to be and don’t deviate from that. To me, those are exceptions to the rule.
My point is that as college students, we need to understand the increasing repercussions of experimenting. Maybe it’s a blessing in disguise.
If you’ve made it this far into my post, you probably won’t mind if I give my opinion. If I’m any indication, we need to have some slack. I basically flunked my way through my first two semesters and was graciously given chance after chance until I wound up making it into a good college into a major so impacted that my 3.9-GPA’d ex-girlfriend couldn’t even get into (Dan – 1, ex-girlfriend – 0). For that I am ever indebted to the college experience. But like that girlfriend, the concept of the college experience is gone.
My advice is this: find your passion–a passion– but as soon as you possibly can.