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To acquire wisdom, one must observe

It’s a long road. Enjoy it.

The three most common words on any college campus: “what’s your major?” It’s a question that everyone that’s ever gone through an undergraduate education has had to answer countless times. Some folks will have a solid answer, and some have even planned out the rest of their college careers course by course. It’s amazing to speak with someone who can say with conviction what they want to study, but I just can’t do that. As I often say to my family, my professors and my friends, “I have no idea what I want to study.”

If you’re like me, and you also haven’t got any semblance of a solid answer to that question, I’ve got good news: we’re not alone. We’re a part of the 50 percent of American college students who start their college career undecided, and some of us will be a part of the 75 percent of American college students who change their major at least once. It’s taken a bit of time for me to come to terms with it, but I’m OK with not knowing what I’ll study.

There’s a good reason for my utter indecisiveness, though. In stereotypical Brandeis student fashion, I’m just far too passionate about far too many things. I’m considering a major in environmental studies because I want to help preserve our planet’s biodiversity, I’m considering a major in computer science because I really enjoy knowing the inner workings of the machine that I typed out this article on and I’m considering a minor in journalism because I’ve derived so much enjoyment from writing for Brandeis’ best media publication. The only thing I’m sure I’ll be studying is Spanish, and I’m already two courses into the five course requirement for the minor I plan to complete in Hispanic Studies. My inability to choose a path for myself certainly isn’t for lack of trying, it’s just due to my desire to do so many different things.

And, the worst part is, every time I take a course in a new discipline, I feel my interests being pulled in that direction. For example, this semester I’m taking an art course, FA56 “American Art” with Professor Peter Kalb. It’s an art history course that has focused on paintings made in America during the colonial era so far. I will admit that I originally enrolled in the course to fulfill a few Brandeis Core requirements and had zero prior experience in art history. But, as the semester has progressed, I’ve found myself truly enjoying the content of the course and found myself stricken with a desire to hop on a BranVan to the Museum of Fine Arts and explore everything every weekend.

Last semester, I took a politics course, POL111 “The American Congress” with Professor Jill Greenlee, and thought about whether a career in politics was right for me. The course had an interesting activity called the “legislative simulation” where each student took on the persona of a congressperson and had to cooperate to write and pass legislation. It was captivating, and I felt like I learned so much in the few classes that the legislative simulation took. Although I eventually decided that I’m not crazy enough to run for office, I did consider it for a while just because of how engrossing this course was.

In my series of interviews with different academic leaders at Brandeis (which you should read when you finish this article), I’ve learned about undergraduate education systems in other countries. Some of these professors told me about the education system in Europe, where students are required to choose what they want to study much earlier in their academic career. This allows for more depth of knowledge but restricts the breadth of it. If given a choice, I’d choose the American liberal arts system, although I do understand the benefits of the European system.

Like all undecided students, I look forward to eventually figuring out what I want to do with my life. With my myriad interests, I believe that Brandeis truly is the best place for me to do that. I want to explore all my passions. I want to explore environmental studies, computer science, journalism, and see where they lead. Here, I feel like I can.

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