Choosing a major is less important than passion

The Channels Opinion Pages | STAFF COLUMN

TANNER WALKER, Channels Staff

In my junior year of high school, I made the choice to go to community college. I had no idea what I wanted to study or where I wanted to live for the next four years and choosing a career at that point hadn’t even crossed my mind.

I was afraid choosing a major meant a life long commitment to a specific career path and that was a terrifying decision to make at seventeen.

In reality though, you don’t need to commit to a career or major immediately after you graduate high school. You just can’t commit to waiting around for an opportunity to present itself.

As my senior year started, I still hadn’t made a decision. At the same time, my friends either shared in my uncertainty and resorted to a local college or began applying to universities.

A few of them thought they had it all figured out. They were convinced that a major in industrial engineering or biochemistry was the only way they would be successful.

Although, the majority of people weren’t sure what they wanted to study. They were only certain their grades in high school proved they were too smart for a community college. I watched as my friends recklessly applied to schools like Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and UC Berkeley for majors they had no interest in.

My first semester of community college offered no help in making a decision. I took the most general courses I could just to satisfy transfer requirements, while I waited to have a great epiphany and realize my future.

Second semester changed me though. I took a group communication class for no reason other than it fit my schedule. Yet something odd happened in that class. I actually enjoyed what I was learning. The reading made sense and tests came easy.

The following year, I took two more communication courses and talked a few times with my counselors about what career opportunities communication majors have. Taking time to explore the discipline and researching its uses in the professional world is what ultimately helped me choose a major.

I’m still not completely sure what I’ll do after school. I don’t know what area I want to focus my studies when I transfer to UCSB. I have doubts about choosing a minor or double major. But I do know that I have the tools to make the decision myself.

Sitting around waiting for an opportunity to come your way will only lead you to more uncertainty. Good opportunities don’t jump out and find lazy people. Driven, motivated people jump out and find the great opportunities.

On the other hand, blindly committing to the first choice you have is an even worse cop out. It pigeonholes you into something whether or not it ends up being the right choice. Sure, you made a choice, but how helpful will it actually be? Either you end up circling back and starting over after realizing it wasn’t for you or you spend your life stuck in one place with no freedom to explore.

You don’t need to have your mind made up from day one, no one does. Anyone who says they do is scared to face their doubts.

However, you do need motivation and curiosity. Without that, you end up like my friends who still live at home and still work the same restaurant jobs they did in high school.