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As a second year at Dartmouth, the winter term has brought a significant milestone in my academic journey: the major declaration process. Dartmouth students can start declaring their majors during their fifth term "in residence," which corresponds to sophomore winter term for most, including me. Though I am abroad for my sophomore winter, I could still declare my major.

While I initially entered Dartmouth with the preferred majors of Government and Gender Studies, my trajectory has since evolved, showcasing the flexibility and exploration encouraged by the liberal arts environment. As of now, I am working towards majoring in Cognitive Science and possibly minoring in French, a decision that reflects the dynamic nature of the major declaration process. In this blog post, I want to delve into the intricacies of declaring a major, drawing from my personal experiences.

The beauty of Dartmouth lies in its encouragement of exploration, allowing students to chart their academic paths at their own pace. I vividly remember taking my first class with the vague intention of it being "for my major" during my first spring term. Fast forward to the present, and I am on the verge of declaring a major that resonates more deeply with my evolving interests.

The key takeaway from my major declaration journey is the realization that you don't need to have your entire academic path mapped out from the beginning. The freedom to explore diverse disciplines in my first year has been instrumental in helping me articulate and solidify my interests. Government and Gender Studies—my previous intended majors—have given way to the allure of Cognitive Science, a field that aligns more closely with my evolving passions. Looking ahead, my plan for the major involves taking one to two courses each term within the Cognitive Science realm, leaving room for exploration in other departments. I am particularly excited about delving into theater and studio art courses, embracing the interdisciplinary nature of Dartmouth's liberal arts education.

My advice for prospective students grappling with the uncertainty of major choices is simple: embrace the journey. Whether you enter Dartmouth with a clear vision or undecided, the liberal arts ethos allows for an organic exploration of diverse interests. Let your innate curiosity shine through, guiding you towards an authentic and fulfilling academic path.

As I embark on the next phase of my Dartmouth journey, my major declaration reminds me that growth and discovery are continuous processes. The liberal arts philosophy empowers students to cultivate unique intellectual identities, ensuring that each major declaration celebrates individuality and curiosity.

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