I came to Dordt as an Undeclared major. Even though I wanted to pick a major so I could avoid the awkward "Well what are you interested in?" conversations, I found that list of major on Dordt's website to be too overwhelming to pick one. A lot of majors looked interesting--really interesting, actually--but I had no way of picking just one to pursue.
So, I came to Dordt as an Undeclared major. That decision was one of the best decisions I made going to college (and, like all my good decisions, it was a result of good advice from others). While many people do really have an idea of what they are passionate about, it was much better for me to have the freedom to try out different classes from different majors. What I needed was not more time to "discover" my passion; what I needed was to have a taste of different fields to see what I liked.
As I've said in some of my previous blog posts, I am now a Communication and English major. I chose Communication at the end of my freshman year, and added English at the beginning of my sophomore year.
Something interesting about a major like Communication is that nobody really knows what it is. "Oh, you're a Communication major. Nice. What do you study, exactly?" Um, communication? I chose Communication because I loved the intro class, and I wanted more of it, not really because I knew what all it was. The same goes for my English major: every semester I take different classes and discover new aspects of the English field. Every semester I discover another reason I love my major.
From Mass Media to Interpersonal Communication to Small Groups, I find human communication more and more fascinating. From Literary Theory to British Literature to Expository Writing, I find the study of "the human condition" and of putting that condition down on paper to be invigorating. And this hasn't happened overnight; it has been a developing passion, one that becomes bigger the more I feed it.
This semester is my first semester without any core classes. While I love that core classes expand my knowledge and ability in other ways and allow me to have a more complete view of the world, I am loving this concentration on my majors. I'm in one Communication class, four English classes, and an independent study on Greek and Roman mythology (yes, this is real life). My homework is largely reading and creative writing. I'm being pushed and guided into being a better writer, reader, and communicator. Does it get any better? You could say my majors are on point.
Now, I realize that this isn't everybody's story. People from all majors find they love what they're studying. People from all majors find that they wish they were studying something else (and sometimes switching majors is a good choice!). Often the story is that people find that they love what they're studying, and yet they are burnt out from the tests and the papers and the sheer amount of work they have to do.
Really, I don't walk around campus everyday on fire for learning. I'm feeling very inspired now as I sit by my window and drink coffee, but if you ask me at 1:00 AM how glad I am to be writing that paper, I'm not going to be so enthusiastic. Like anyone, I'm tempted to skip classes or to just skim the readings. However, a letter from my recently graduated sister reminded me that we won't have these opportunities to learn forever.
So what am I trying to offer? Advice to become an English or Communication major? Well, no, although it isn't a bad idea. Inspiration to wake up every morning, rarin' to get to class? No again, although that wouldn't be bad either. I suppose what I'm offering is encouragement. Encouragement that you can develop a passion for something, whether now or later. Encouragement to remember, despite the papers and tests, why you love what you're studying, whether that be Communication, Education, Agriculture, Nursing, Mathematics, or Psychology.