Forgoing the “Plan”

by Genevieve Mayle ’23

As a freshman, I remember receiving a graphic organizer to fill in our high school schedule for each year. I planned my entire high school schedule the day I received the form. I planned everything, from which AP classes and exams I would take to having a half-day schedule senior year. I decided I wanted to be an engineer, something STEM, and planned to complete the PLTW pathway. I did not follow the plan; my major is now architecture. While it may be obvious to some, not sticking to the “plan” is normal and not a personal failing.

There is an overwhelming, underlying pressure to pick a career path as soon as possible – as early as freshman year of high school – and stick with it through college. Let me tell you: this idea is total nonsense. Despite what schools and teachers promise, the best way to explore one’s academic interests is not by taking some AP course. While high school courses certainly help students narrow down what subjects they like (no chemistry for me in college if I can help it), they don’t compare to the way college explores fields of study in depth. College has a way of exposing you to things you never knew existed.

Additionally, you may find yourself gravitating towards engineering in freshman year, but find yourself interested in economics in senior year. Interests change. Do not force yourself to pursue something you fancied freshman year, even if you took some classes relevant to it. Paint yourself as a fine potential business student in your college resume to get accepted, but don’t pressure yourself to be one in college. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, about 80 percent of students in college end up changing their major at least once. On average, college students change their major at least three times over the course of their college career. The college you apply to as a business student isn’t going to force you to stay a business student if you find a more fitting major.

If you are one of those students who always knew they wanted to be a doctor or something, honestly, good on you. If you are one of those students like me whose interests change as frequently as my grade in AP Statistics, I implore you to take the time you need to keep on exploring.