Excited to be undecided: Students keeping an open mind

At the start of the spring semester, freshmen at Hope College can now officially declare a major. Emails have been sent out and flyers have been stapled to billboards, encouraging students to declare a major, or set an appointment with the Boerigter Center for Calling and Career to further their process in deciding. While there are many students who have an idea of what they want to study, there are still a few who are uncertain.

Sawyer Winstead (’25) explained that it is both exciting and difficult to be undecided. Choosing between a Chemistry or Religion major, Winstead claimed that it can be hard to move forward without having declared a major. “It’s scary because I don’t want to mess up the classes I’m going to take next year,” he said, “because if I want to go pre-med, taking organic chemistry next year is kind of a big step. But I also don’t want to take it and have it be worth nothing.”

Bridget Hodgkin (’25) commented, “When you’re undecided, I feel like everyone just assumes that you’re stressed and frantically trying to figure out your life but, at least for me, that was not the case.” Despite the negative assumptions that came with being undecided, Hodgkin felt there was no need to stress, stating, “I was pretty open to just figuring it out as I go and just taking classes and seeing what interested me.” 

Instead of becoming overwhelmed by the possibilities or the multitude of questions thrown her way, Hodgkin had an optimistic perspective. “Undecided has a bad connotation but it shouldn’t at all because it just means you’re open to anything,” she said, “and even all the people who say they have a major, a lot of them don’t know what they’re going to do with it.”

Resource flyer for undecided students

Last semester, Hodgkin wanted to take advantage of the resources that Hope offered to help guide her decision process. She met twice with the Boerigter Center for Calling and Career. “They give you lots of tools to use on your own time if you want to look into different majors and jobs that align with your strengths and interests,” Hodgkin explained, “and it was helpful because I always said I had no idea what I wanted to do but after meeting with the career center, I realized that there were less than half the majors at Hope that I would even consider, which made me realize that I wasn’t totally undecided and I didn’t have to be so overwhelmed.” 

When Hodgkin began to narrow down her options, she found that getting advice and gaining experience helped her discover what would be best for her. Because she was considering the Pre-Occupational Therapy (OT) track, Hodgkin experienced a day-in-the-life of someone who was far into their career as an occupational therapist. She claimed, “The most beneficial part was definitely just talking to other people who are in OT, shadowing OT, and getting the experience and advice.” Because she pursued advice and experience, Hodgkin now has a better idea of what she wants to do. 

While this can be a hard decision for some, Hope willingly helps out those who seek aid by offering free resources and opportunities for undecided students. The Boerigter Center for Calling and Career is always open to setting up an appointment with students to help guide the decision process and prepare them for future success. Whether students are worried or confident, Hope is there to help them along the way. Hodgkin claims, “There is no need to stress. You will figure out your life at some point, whether that’s tomorrow or fifty years from now.” 

Email careers@hope.edu to set up an appointment with The Boerigter Center for Calling and Career. 

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