Students face stress over college decisions

Many+students+have+a+lot+to+consider+when+making+decisions+regarding+college.

Photo by Mae Skaja

Many students have a lot to consider when making decisions regarding college.

This story was originally published in the Heights Herald print edition. 

When Hylanders go to college and leave the high school world, they start to figure out what they like and what to go into. But then a fear creeps in: What happens if a post-secondary student puts in semesters of work and realizes they’ve chosen the wrong major?

Everyone knows how expensive college can be. Attending college itself costs a lot of money and, on top of that, there are transportation fees, required textbooks and housing concerns.

This often adds up to a very overwhelming amount of money. Some students often later realize that they’ve lost interest in a particular topic after they have already invested a great amount of time into taking classes in a certain department or that are required for a particular degree. This results in students experiencing devastating emotions like sadness, regret and even anger, both at themselves and the system into which they’ve invested so much time, energy and cash. 

Most certainly.” CHHS teacher Mr. Toutge confirms he too had this worry. ”I feel like it’s not realistic for every person to know exactly what they will find interesting when it comes to choosing a field of study in college. Because of that, I feel like remaining undecided is a good idea.”

Some students realize that they’ve lost passion for a field of study after they have earned enough credentials to begin a career in the major they worked so hard in but have since lost the love for. Others might realize the same thing once they begin their job search or even shortly after they begin their first full-time occupation, which is an inconvenient time for a shift in gears. Something that might be more inconvenient though would be working without an end in sight for a job that doesn’t bring any sense of fulfillment. Money and time are factors that can’t be ignored, and so is making sure one’s career is rewarding rather than soul-crushing.

“I don’t know what to major in as I am still exploring my options,” Tenzin Tsering (12) said. “But I do hope to find what I love to do soon.” 

If a new graduate wanted to make the switch, they would then need to get another degree based on the topic in which they actually might be interested. While it wouldn’t necessarily be ideal to have this degree, there are skills that are developed due to the rigorous nature of college. They may have developed work ethic, time management and problem-solving. While it may feel like the work they’ve endured was all in vain, a crucial aspect of the college experience is personal development. Yet even this cannot ease the anxiety that comes with choosing the wrong major.

Students would have spent all of their time studying something they didn’t end up loving. Feelings of regret and panic would continue to fester. If they decided to go to college again they would have to consider the time it would take them to get a degree for their new major. If they won’t actually enjoy what they studied, then finding a professional job wouldn’t be the best option for them. 

Students coming to this conclusion shouldn’t bury their hopes but instead try again if they feel as if that’s the best thing for them. They could get a new degree, take their time deciding what’s next for their future.

Even if we don’t realize it, many high school students really don’t know what to major in once they get to a college campus. This happens more often than we think, especially seniors as they have that pressure to make that choice of which direction to go. Some seniors who might know what they want to do also have a moment of uncertainty.. Some students are even already in college but still don’t have that feeling of ease that they’ve made the right choice.

“I think it’s hard for anyone to really be set on where they’re going,” Sydney Miller (12) said. “We don’t know where we want to go until we see our financial aid packages. Once we get those and compare, we can really see where we want to go.” 

Students may have that fear of not choosing the right major, but that shouldn’t stop them from picking and trying something they love to do. It is imperative to spend time in high school exploring instead of trying to be a perfect candidate for college. Dreams of our youth should not have to be put on hold.