Section: Opinion

Column: At Kenyon, you will… not know your major yet

Way back when in high school, everyone knew their major. They knew where they wanted to go and what job they wanted, and they could tell me in intricate detail exactly what their future was supposed to look like. Here at Kenyon, a lot of my friends seemed to have it all figured out before we even started Orientation — they had already planned their schedules, ready to dive into their chosen majors and minors as soon as they got on campus. Despite all of this, I’ve learned to embrace the uncertainty and freedom that comes with being a college student without focusing too much on a rigid career path.  

Like my friends, I arrived on campus with my intended majors and a few minors I was interested in. It wasn’t long after arriving on campus that I became envious of my other friends who had no idea what they wanted to major in or what they wanted to do with their future. The freedom they had astounded me. They could look at the class list and pick courses that intrigued them, not worrying about whether or not it would contribute to their major, minor or even diversification requirements. 

In comparison, when I looked at the class lists, it was always about my chosen major. How can I fit this into my schedule? How will this class contribute to my future at Kenyon? How will this class contribute to my career goals? These were pretty much the only questions I had on my mind when I first looked at Plan Ahead, and this mindset continued into my second semester at Kenyon. 

As my first year at Kenyon comes to a close, I’m happy I had a revelation: The future is less about having a set plan and more about exploring your passions. In actuality, I have no idea what I want to do with my future. But I do know what I like and what I have a passion for. It used to be all about my future career, but maybe it’s better to play it loosely. I don’t have to know and neither do you. If anything, having a more open approach to picking classes gives you more time to explore subjects that you never even considered taking.

This exploration started when I decided to take an art history class which I had originally picked due to convenience. I originally wanted to major in studio art, and maybe I will, but after being in that class for only a few weeks, it brought out a passion I didn’t even know I had. So what if I choose to major in art history instead? Or what if I take an astronomy class, realize I like it, and decide to minor in it? There are so many “what ifs,” and I’m starting to find it more fun and less scary.

It’s still intimidating to stray off the path I had so carefully carved for myself in high school. However, through the leeway I’ve been granting myself, I’ve been able to enjoy my classes more and actually consider my passions and my interests rather than just think about a future career. After all, this is college, and this is Kenyon. We don’t need to have it all figured out. And sometimes the best decisions are those made just because they sound fun. 

Benjamin Dalenberg ’27 is an English major with an emphasis in creative writing from Franklin, Tenn. He can be reached at dalenberg1@kenyon.edu.

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