What do you want to do when you grow up? What do you want to major in? These are the questions I constantly get asked from my family and friends. Getting questions like these while being a junior in high school has added even more stress onto what is arguably the most difficult year of highschool. Getting pressured into picking what you want your future career to be at 17 or 18 years old is unrealistic, especially when most students do not have a general idea of what they want to study. When students pick a major too early, it can be easy for outside influences to sway their decisions. As a result, students are not using college to explore their other interests and eventually change their major multiple times. This action could be reduced if students were not under the pressure to choose a certain major before going to college.
A large number of students pick their major to please others and do not end up studying what they truly want to. Even though I am only a junior in high school, I already have family and older friends telling me what I should major in or what degree will earn me the most money in the future. Hearing so many different voices and perspectives telling me what I should want is overwhelming. According to Business Wire, it is estimated that two thirds of students feel a large amount of pressure to pick a major. It can be confusing to know what you want to do when there are so many people putting in their input on your life. Putting pressure on students as young as juniors to pick their major can add an immense amount of stress to an already stressful year. According to Diverse Education 64% of students picked a major that did not fit within their academic strengths or interests. As I have gotten older I have begun to notice how much outside influences control the decisions I make. When the pressure is put on us to make important decisions, like what to major in, we are quick to listen to what other people think is best for us. Because of this, most students end up studying what others believe is best for them, rather than making that decision themselves. Putting the pressure on a teenager to pick what they want to do with the rest of their lives is unrealistic and adds unnecessary stress on students to decide their future at such a young age.
College is meant for students to experience new and exciting interests, not to pick a major based on the opinions of others and then change it multiple times. In highschool, because of our required courses, we have limited freedom to explore a variety of interests. Because of this, most students do not know the courses they are really interested in until they get to college. Almost every single class aside from the one extra curricular class I take are all required. Just because I am taking all these classes, does not mean I have any real interest in studying them in the future. While these required classes are fundamental to a full high school education, students do not get immense time dedicated to one major study. As a result, they should not have to pick one major for college when students have almost only taken required classes. Even though I have a small idea about what I might want to do, I will not really know until I have tried out some of the courses. There is no way of knowing if students will really like a major unless they try it out and consider other ones before making a decision that can affect the rest of their life. Up to 50% to 75% of college students end up switching their major at least one time before actually ending up graduating and earning a degree. If students did not feel the pressure of picking a major, they would be able to explore their interests and not switch majors multiple times before they graduate.
Although others think that students should decide on a major going into college, it only makes students more stressed out about their future. As high school is made to prepare students for college and beyond, it does not fully give students a complete idea of what they are going to study for the rest of their lives. In picking a major, it only makes students more stressed and forces them to make a decision based on the opinions of others instead of doing what’s best for themselves. While some students might know what they want to do, that does not mean every kid does. Having a negative perception on going into college “undecided” negatively affected students in more ways than it should.
Students should be given the choice to decide when they want to make a decision about their future. Whether that is right out of high school or during college classes, students should not feel the pressure to make a decision hastily. In doing so, they are only hurting themselves and their future. Being able to explore other interests with a good amount of time can be the best thing to aid students in an important decision that will set up the rest of their lives.