Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Reflections of a High School Youth Ambassador - It's Okay to be Undecided

We were halfway through a college tour when the tour guide asked one of my best friends, "So what do you plan on majoring in?" When my friend admitted, as I have heard her do many times before, that she is in fact undecided, I held my breath for the tour guide's response. It was a breath of fresh air when he responded with, "That's okay; that's our most popular major!" To me and many of my peers, selecting a college major means choosing, at such a young age, exactly what we want to do with the rest of our lives. That can be quite intimidating; especially since, when you're a teenager, just selecting which movie to watch at the movie theater or choosing an outfit for the day can be a great struggle with indecisiveness. I am so used to hearing teachers, parents, and even guidance counselors emphasizing the importance of selecting a college major ASAP, that it's a relief to hear someone say that it is actually okay to be undecided.

In high school, students are still growing and figuring out who they are, what they like, and what they're good at; these things take time. When I was really young, I thought that I wanted to grow up and be a teacher. Now, my ambitions for the future are something completely different from that, and I wouldn't be surprised if I change my mind, yet again, before I begin college. Thankfully, many universities understand that and do not require students to select a major until their junior year. If colleges are so understanding, then why can't our teachers, parents, and guidance counselors be, as well?

I very strongly believe that high school students should be told that it's okay to be undecided on a major, rather than pressured into choosing one. I think that instead of expecting teens to know exactly what they want to do in the future, adults should encourage them to use their time in high school as a learning experience in itself and not just a time to plan out the future. For example, things like internships should increase in popularity amongst high school students, and should perhaps be encouraged more by guidance counselors, teachers, and parents. After all, it's hard for anyone to know how they really feel about something until they try it. Many students who enter college with a major already in mind often end up graduating with a completely different one, anyway. In college, where students have to pay for classes, this can be quite expensive. This makes high school an excellent time for students to be undecided, and therefore open-minded.

Djellza Ramadani