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The big fat “undecided” tattoo on my forehead

Written by my former student and current social media specialist Ali Kaplan, an honest assessment of college majors and why being "undecided" creates space for growth.

I was definitely “that” student – The one who didn’t pick a college major until the absolute last day my university allowed for declarations, that is.

Now, as a soon-to-be college senior at Lehigh University, I feel ready to do some self-reflection on what it really felt like to enter college as an “undecided” student.

In my final few months at Ramapo High School in 2020, the Instagram accounts called Class of (insert year here) Grads didn’t exist. For those who are unfamiliar with the customary social media page, it is common for students to submit a photo of themselves to the account to have their own featured post on the page. The picture often includes the student’s name, university and aspiring college major.

If my 18-year-old self had to submit an entry for this Instagram page, I think she might have thrown up – How embarrassing would it be to have the word “undecided” written in bold when other students' posts would read nursing, finance, engineering, business.

I might as well come to college with a big tattoo on my forehead that lets everyone know I don’t know what I want to do with my life, right?

Entering college as an undecided student was something that I was originally ashamed of.

As a 21 year old, I can now say that my hesitation to give myself this title so early on in my college career worked in my favor. I think not deciding was the best decision that I ever decided on!

I ended up choosing to major in journalism with minors in marketing and psychology (since I still obviously couldn’t pick just one thing).

I laugh now, since my major is journalism, but my summer internship last year was with a law firm.

This summer, my internship is in marketing.

In my opinion, having an undecided major for the first year or two of college doesn’t equate to not being driven or motivated enough. It also doesn’t mean that you aren’t focused, or that you don’t have interests.

To me, it means you are curious: open to new experiences and learning more about yourself.

Don’t get me wrong. If you have decided on a major, kudos to you! That officially makes me jealous. That also isn’t to say that your mind can’t change – frankly, you might pivot at least three or four times throughout your college career most of my friends have.

Even though my diploma might read a certain discipline, I am still “undecided” about the future. But, I do think that I have learned along the way. Specifically the things that I do like and the things that I don’t.

Doesn’t the process of elimination never fail us? I guess I will find out soon enough!


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