Don’t have the rest of your life planned out to the minute? It’s okay. Read on to learn about my experience with coming to K-State with an Open Option major and how it benefited me.
Coming to college is scary, because a lot of times people expect you to have the rest of your life figured out before you even walk through the doors. As a current student who still doesn’t know exactly what I want to do with the rest of my life, let me tell you—you don’t have to have it all figured out—especially before you even get to college.
My senior year of high school, I was SO pumped to attend K-State…with the exception of one small, tiny, detail: I had zero clue what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. Every time I thought about choosing a major or a career path, I felt sick to my stomach. Many of the people I went to school with knew exactly what they wanted to do (they’d been dreaming of being a teacher since they were 10, they’d had this special moment of realization when they just knew they were meant to be athletic trainers, or they had just somehow always known). I was incredibly jealous of these people. Why couldn’t I just know what I was meant to do? I took what felt like thousands of career tests and assessments, yet nothing really helped me.
Well, time passed, and eventually it got to the point when I really had to choose a major. After discussion with my parents, school counselor, and K-State Admissions Representative, I decided to enroll in the Open Option program. When people would ask me about my major, I would say in a quiet, embarrassed voice that I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I thought there was something wrong with me because I didn’t have a clear picture of my future at the age of 18.
When I met with my advisor to plan my classes for the first semester, I started to realize just what being in the Open Option program meant: I could literally try any class that I wanted. I was able to take philosophy, political science, English, and even a law class! This was the first time I actually appreciated the flexibility that I had.
While exploring all of those different classes my first semester, I tried to really evaluate what I was enjoying, what I wasn’t, and what really stood out to me. With some self-reflection, I realized that the passion I had always had for reading and writing could be explored and developed by furthering my studies in English. I decided to pursue an English Literature major, and I have been reading, reading, writing, reading, (and oh did I mention reading?) ever since. And you know what? I really enjoy it!
Even though I decided on an English major, that still doesn’t mean I know exactly what I want to do. This is still a source of stress for me, but I’ve realized that it’s okay not to have my entire life figured out. The best thing to do, I’ve realized, is explore my options and see what is interesting to me. (This advice works for classes, internships, jobs, friends…really almost anything! It’s OKAY to keep your options open!) The classes I was able to take through the Open Option program allowed me to make great friends, learn about things I’d never even thought about before, and realize where my true academic passions lie.
Choosing a major should not make you be less excited about coming to K-State. Academics are very important, and an education is the reason you come to college; that being said, even if you don’t know what you want to do with the rest of your life, you can still enjoy all of the wonderful things that your college has to offer! This is another way that you can figure out what your passions are: get involved in clubs and organizations, and pay attention to what makes you happy! What is fun for you? What do you find joy in? Take all of these things into consideration, and enjoy the process of discovering your own path!
Something that has really helped me throughout the years is remembering that nobody has the same path. Just because some students know exactly what they want to do doesn’t mean that everyone does—and that’s okay! Some students will study abroad, some will get married, some will take a year off to work, some will change their major senior year, some will drop out of college, some will become the next president of K-State, and some will stay with their major all through college.
What’s most important is that you find what works best for YOU. Exploring your options isn’t something to be embarrassed about; in fact, it’s something you should be proud of! The truth is, nobody really knows exactly what the future holds, so you shouldn’t feel pressured to choose a major. Evaluate your passions, take some classes that sound interesting, and see what happens! It’s worked out pretty well for me.