Choosing a major is perhaps the most important decision college students make. Maybe we declare it once, maybe multiple times. Once you find the right one though, it'll feel as though you have settled in and found your home. Some agonize over finding a major, because nothing seems right or they realize that everything they thought about their major was wrong.
There are others though, the ones you don't hear about: the people who find their major right away, almost like it was ingrained into their identity. My friend, Kate, is in the perfect major, without a doubt -- I knew that from my first conversation with her as she lit up talking about Abraham Lincoln. She's a history major and has found her home. It's difficult to explain, but you can tell through the most basic conversation with her that everything she thinks of is through a lens of a historian. Events are not just a moment; they are small fragments of a much bigger historical context. She can endlessly rattle off dates and names from European history without blinking an eye. She is confident in her passion for history, and it's clear from having been in a history class with her that she has found a major, the major for her mindset.
Another friend of mine is a computer engineering major. Firstly, he's like a computer, constantly processing information and attempting to make the correct associations. Secondly, he's crazy smart, so for that alone he should automatically be involved in engineering. The thing that is most surprising though is that although he is not an English major, he can make more English references than many English majors. You can tell that almost everything he says has been processed like a computer processes data, constructing it carefully into patterns and formulas. He is a computer and an engineer, proving he found his perfect major.
Finally, there's me. For as long as I can remember I have been obsessed with the mind and interpreting everything from it. The only books I read are based on thoughts instead of actions. I frequently talk about Freud and the stages of mental and emotional development. I see everything through the lens of the mind. I would rather sit quietly, watching ... observing what everyone around me is doing. Most of all, I want to understand motives, thoughts and actions. It's a complicated thing to try and explain, but it is like these characteristics are ingrained into us. We do not choose our majors; they are already chosen for us in a way, providing us with the skills and interests we need. We are not who we are because of the majors we have adopted; we adopted our majors because they are representations of us.
Now, for all of you who haven't found that lens that clearly tells you that you have found your home, there is still hope. What is it that you love? Are you a thinker, a creator or a processor? Do you pride yourself on your ability to listen to others or your ability to make connections? Some people are comfortable making connections and processing, others want to know how others feel and how to relate. Each of these little traits in our personalities guide us in a direction. College is about exploring options, and finding the major that fits you is just about finding that door. All the doors of majors are open to us, but only a few truly represent us, building on skills and interests that are ingrained in us.
— Samantha Warchol is a sophomore in psychology. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.