Ways to explore majors for undecided students
May 20, 2018
If you’re reading this, it’s not too late. Entering into the University atmosphere can be overwhelming, especially if you are one of the (many) people who answer the question, “What are you majoring in?” with a deep breath followed by the — oftentimes dreaded — sentence, “I don’t know.”
As a person who applied into DGS myself, I can say this: Despite what others may say, or how your parents feel, or how many of your friends from home already have everything figured out (as far as you know), you will find and take the path which is best for you. Hopefully with a little help from this column, of course.
The fact of the matter is many people switch their majors at some point during their college careers, and that is because this is a time in which we are changing as people and discovering what we want out of life. Naturally, that may not stay the same throughout a four-year period.
So, if you’re beginning your experience here with an exploratory period, you are not alone. And, there are many resources to help you through.
The first of these is your DGS adviser. DGS does not assign students to an academic adviser, or vice versa, so if you have an interaction with an adviser and you feel you’d be better off meeting with someone else, you are able to do that. You can research advisers to find your fit on the DGS website.
That being said, make a point to physically meet with your adviser at some point every semester – not just your first year; this applies to your college career as a whole – and ask questions about majors you find interesting, and what classes you can take to explore those (and hopefully earn some general credits along the way).
Talking to a real person is usually much more helpful than consulting a course catalog or website, so making an appointment is in your best interest.
Another resource which is often overlooked by students is the annual Majors and Minors Fair, which takes place in the Illini Union. The Fall 2018 date is TBA. However, it is beneficial to keep an eye out, since there will be representatives from all departments present and ready to answer questions. Who knows, you may find something there that you didn’t even know you were looking for.
This piece of advice is probably the most important one of all: get involved. Finding Registered Student Organizations, jobs on campus or volunteer opportunities can not only become great resume builders for the future, but can also help you explore your passions in a way that throws you into activities related to what you may want to be doing with your academic journey.
If you remember nothing else from this column, remember that these resources alone will not help you find what you want to spend years of your life learning about.
You must use these resources to their fullest potential in order to gain insights out of them. Be prepared, immerse yourself and ask questions. Don’t shy away from working hard to find what works for you; invest the time required to make your University experience worthwhile. Not all self-care involves a face mask.
Pari is a sophomore in DGS.