Entering Binghamton University last August, my undeclared major felt like a giant inkblot on my life — annoying and stressful. I was jealous of my suitemates who had come in as declared nursing, chemistry and computer science majors. My game plan was to take a bunch of different classes and grasp on to whatever interested me to declare my major as soon as possible.
I had it all wrong. Reflecting on my first year of college, I realize that my (still) undecidedness encouraged me to adopt an adventurous and open-minded attitude that made for an extremely enriching first year. I was relieved of the stress involved with taking classes that pertained to my major, which allowed me to choose courses from a variety of subjects and majors. Because of this freedom, I have developed an interest in multiple fields like politics, sociology and environmental studies, which I can pursue in an interdisciplinary manner in the future or continue to study on the side. I was able to connect with a unique mix of professors, and I found myself making connections between discussions and lessons in different fields. BU offers over 130 majors, minors and tracks that you may never get the opportunity to experience if you start your academic experience with a chosen field.
I also became more ambitious in my extracurriculars, as being undeclared meant that there was no pressure to join clubs or organizations that pertained to a certain major. In high school, track and field was my only extracurricular, but I had always been drawn to soccer because of the team aspect and because it is globally loved. Although my last experience playing soccer on an established team was at 10 years old, in light of trying new things, I joined club soccer and it turned out to be extremely fun and rewarding. I became confident enough in my soccer skills to join TOPSoccer, where I volunteered as a soccer coach on Saturday mornings. At the recommendation of my sociology professor, I began to volunteer for Justice and Unity for the Southern Tier, speaking to those incarcerated at the Broome County Jail weekly to aid the organization in advocating for their rights and health care. I found that I was interested in carceral studies and that I may want to pursue a career in prison policy. I reached out to Pipe Dream over winter break, but I was a bit nervous having no professional writing experience. I was also worried that I would be overwhelmed joining two sections, but I decided to join both the Opinions section and Arts and Culture section anyways. It turned out to be a fantastic decision. In the words of Nike, “Just do it.”
My social experience this past year was also reflective of my undecided attitude. Being in many different clubs and courses allowed me to meet new people with unique interests. I also found myself actively seeking out new people to talk to and spend time with apart from friends that I already knew. It is easy to become comfortable with the first group of friends that you make at college, but it is rewarding to branch out and form friendships that offer different experiences and perspectives.
The most exciting part of college is that it is a new experience, offering a multitude of new courses, clubs and people from different backgrounds. Although cliché, the absolute best thing you can do is enter college with an open mind and with motivation to take advantage of all the opportunities BU offers. If you are undeclared, do not be worried — it is a blessing in disguise! I hope that if you are entering BU undeclared, you think of it as a rare opportunity to immerse yourself in many different worlds socially, academically and athletically. Your major will figure itself out.
Doris Turkel is an undeclared sophomore.