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Baker at Night

To any prospective student reading this, I'm sure you've been prematurely asked what you want to major in, and you've probably answered this question multiple times. Whether it's the awkward small talk made by the coworker of a parent at a random dinner party or the glare of the Common App screen, this question could have brought some stress. You're just a teenager—how are you supposed to know what you want to study and do for the rest of your life? 

Some of you may have a perfectly confident and succinct answer and that's great. That was me, discussing my passions for both psychology and theater and my intended career pursuits. However, the second I arrived at Dartmouth, that scripted truth was shattered, and I have already discovered numerous new interests of mine in the short time I've been a student. Dartmouth's liberal arts education encourages consistent intellectual curiosity and exploration. Students here have multiple passions and can learn about virtually anything they choose. I have STEM majors in my acting class and artists in my statistics class. 

The word "undecided" can come with a lot of stress and anxiety, but I'm looking at it as an opportunity. It's exciting to think about how much potential the rest of your academic career has; how much there is to explore. Everybody has their own intellectual process- some enter college with an intended major and it's everything they dreamed of. However, most of us don't have the same experience, and that's why academic exploration is important. I chose Dartmouth over a stricter theater program because I wasn't sure I wanted to work in the theater industry and I'm incredibly glad I made that decision because I've discovered a plethora of other subjects that I'm interested in. We have until sophomore year to declare what we want to major in, so there's no rush to dig yourself into a hole if you're not confident it's what you want. 

To anyone that isn't sure of what they want to study, I know it's stressful. It's not fair for schools and others in general to expect an eighteen-year-old to know what they want their future to look like, especially when colleges offer classes in subjects that were impossible to study in high school. If you don't have a plan right now, that is perfectly fine; there is no need to have one as a high schooler. Most people are or have been in your shoes, and this is completely normal. Take a breath, relax, and know that you aren't behind anyone else in your academic journey, you just have the opportunity to explore and discover what makes you happy. Take pride in the word "undecided," and remember that it always works out in the end.

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