So, you’re an undecided freshman.
Maybe you came in with a major and decided to drop it after realizing it wasn’t for you. Maybe you’ve never known what you wanted to do. Maybe you don’t even know what you’re interested in. Maybe you don’t even have a dream. You probably feel a little lost.
The point is, you don’t know what you want, not really. And that’s fine! But it’s officially November; in a few weeks, it will be Thanksgiving, and after that, winter break. The holiday season undoubtedly means parents and grandparents and second cousins wanting to know how college is going, if their money is going to good use, and what you plan on doing with your life.
Here are some ideas on what you can do:
Try this: every time someone asks you what you’re going to do with your life, make up something new.
“So, what are you majoring in, again?” a high school acquaintance may ask. Instead of shrugging and offering a half-hearted attempt at a joke, lie. Tell them you’re studying marketing, or women’s studies, or the effect of Dolly Parton on Tennessee. It doesn’t matter what you say; just make it up.
I know this sounds dumb, but trust me. You might discover something about yourself when you’re twenty minutes into explaining a fake ad campaign idea you had for Nike that involved rabbits. By letting yourself make things up, you can figure out what does and doesn’t sound appealing to you. It’s like trying on potential futures without any of the commitment!
Obviously, if the person calls you on your bullshit, play it off like a joke.
Your friends and relatives all have interests and passions and things they hate. It never hurts to ask them what they did/are doing with their lives; at the very least, you’ll learn what you don’t want. This goes for strangers, as well; seek out other people’s life stories with the hopes of figuring out your own. Even if it doesn’t help, you might make some friends!
They also all have the benefit of knowing you. Maybe they know what you should do, because you definitely don’t.
3. Go to “weird” stuff.
Does your school offer a class on the history of UFO incidents (looking at you, Boston University)? Is there a convention in town that sounds mildly interesting? Is someone controversial going to speak about something dumb? Anything that piques your interest–even if it does so in a negative way–explore it. Attend that meeting, take that class. All that matters is that you’re intrigued by it. By getting involved with things that interest you, you can figure out whether you actually like something enough to devote the next two or three years of your life to it.
4. It’s fine.
No one really has anything figured out, even if they think they do. The “real” adults in your life definitely don’t, even if they act like they do. You’re going to figure it out, and it’s going to be fine. Really. Probably. Really.