The Major Choice


Jon Pearcy, Staff Writer

It’s a simple drop down list, with maybe 50 or 60 choices. I scroll through them, trying to pick two out of the whole list. It’s a task that seems easy enough, a few choices out of a few options; but, for any high school senior, it means so much more. Each option is a different future, an entirely different world, two choices that determine what you’ll be doing for at least the next four years of your life.

That drop down list is a list of degrees. Many colleges have them. You choose what degree you’d like to be admitted for first and, if you don’t get the first, what you’d like to be admitted for second. And it’s absolutely insane.

I like to think I’ve touched upon a pretty good amount of what our school has to offer during my high school career. I’ve taken classes in several different interest areas, from politics to science; but even so, there are still huge swaths of classes that I’ve never experienced at all.

So how am I supposed to know what I want to do for the next four years, and maybe the rest of my life?

The truth is, I have no definite plan for what I want to be. Sure, I’ve had some cursory ideas, I’ve chosen a few areas that I think would be interesting. But I don’t really know whether I’ll enjoy them, and that terrifies me. I don’t want to pay thousands of dollars for a degree in a field I hate so I can have a job I hate. I want to do something I love for my job.

But I don’t think I have the experience to choose what that thing is, and that’s why that drop down list is so scary. Every single option on that list a path I’m choosing not to follow, an opportunity I’m choosing not to take, a different life I’m leaving behind. What happens if I choose the wrong one?

It just seems weird to me. There’s a big invisible line and I’m about to cross it. On this side I’m a kid, I can make mistakes, I don’t have to always know what I’m doing or why I’m doing it, I can go out and have fun and not always have to worry about tomorrow. On the other side is the real world, I have to choose who I am and what I’m going to be, I have to plan for the future, I have to be an adult. That drop down list is the first definitive step over that line.

So from that list I have to pick a future, a path to follow, and with that leave the others behind. I think that’s one of the scariest things about growing up, about becoming an adult; when you’re a kid you can be and do anything, you have your whole future ahead of you, but as you get older you realize that the future you were looking forward to is looking more and more like the past.
So as I scroll down that drop down menu, what seems like a simple choice instead turns into a maze. I don’t know what I want to do, but they want me to pick. They want me to enthusiastically step over the line ready and prepared. But I’m not ready to step over the line, and I’m still figuring out if I’m prepared. That drop down menu isn’t a simple choice anymore, it’s a split in the path and a step into the unknown, it’s a roulette wheel that will determine whether I’m happy.