Don’t be Afraid to be Undecided
While applying to college, I was constantly getting asked what I wanted to do when I grew up. “What’s your intended major?” “What field do you want to go into?” “What do you want to do after college?”
How is a high school senior supposed to have the rest of her life planned out? Wagner College made it clear that I did not have to know. It was perfectly okay to be undecided and even encouraged. Don't be afraid to be clueless, don't be afraid to be completely undecided. It might be intimidating and you might feel pressure to have everything figured out, but I'm here to tell you that you don't.
As a little girl, I always thought about being a teacher, but as I grew up I thought about ideas that seemed so far out of reach. I wished to be a traveling writer, psychologist, an editor at People Magazine, or the next Nicholas Sparks. I imagined what it would be like to be paid to explore the world or become the next monumental historian. Any possible aspiration I had was always followed with critiques by everyone. Everyone except those at Wagner College.
So I came to Wagner, completely unaware of what I wanted to major in. I did, however, know what I did not want to do. I knew I had zero interest in anything math or business related. I thought about Psychology, English, Education, and various other majors and minors as possibilities. But that still left me with endless opportunities and a huge horizon. I needed help narrowing in. What did I do? I became proactive.
First, I decided to email department heads, explaining my interest in their programs. I asked for extra information. I was not expecting anything more than an email back, but most department heads actually asked to meet with me one-on-one. Their interest in prospective students truly stuck out to me as something extremely special here at Wagner. A specific instance was my meeting with the Education department head. She was one of the nicest, most genuine humans I have met. She sat down with me and explained all the possible experiences her department offered. She detailed each one, asking me questions along the way to get to know me better. She took time out of her busy schedule to explain to me what my future could possibly look like in her program, leaving me with a sense of extreme respect, an ambitious imagination, and a handful of papers that reiterated everything she explained to me.
Wagner College also tends to have consistent events that pertain to different majors. For example, the English department hosted a meet and greet with English major alumni who have successful lives after Wagner. It was really cool to sit in the faculty dining hall, alongside peers, professors, and alumni who all had similar interests as you. Each alumni was able to speak about their journey to where they are now and life, what they have learned, what they aspire for, and so forth. An alumni who graduated in 1980 with an English degree now is changing Staten Island for the better through different projects such as an animal shelter and new sports fields. I was able to sit side by side graduated students who shared the same professors I have now, listening to their Wagner experience and their life after as well as the advice they have moving forward. It was a wonderful, unique experience for students who knew what they are interested in and for students who are still undecided.
Towards the back of campus lies a beautiful, old building that holds a majority of faculties’ offices. As I wandered around campus, I went through the department floors grabbing pamphlets and fliers as I went. Each department tends to have a bulletin board with a wonderful display of information regarding their program and the opportunities that come from it. Every faculty member would take time to talk to you about the education routes you’ve thought about and even the ones you’ve disregarded. A wonderful tool at Wagner is CASE, the Center for Academic and Career Engagement. This office lies right in Union Hall, holding a multitude of personnel who are available to help guide you. Especially being someone who does not know exactly what they want, scheduling an appointment to discuss different majors, the wonders of internships, and other programs that have helped Wagner students land successful career pathways in every possible field.
Not knowing is scary, but as a high school senior touring and deciding where to go and what to do, Wagner made me feel the most comfortable. I felt encouraged to explore my possibilities, I felt accepted being completely undecided, I felt motivated to stay open minded. Since I have been on campus, I have found even cooler resources that are not publicized as campus visit days. I am still undecided, as I am just a freshmen, but I know here at Wagner I will be able to continue and explore my options in order to eventually narrow down what is meant for me.