In front of me is a planner, course catalogue, my laptop with the spring schedule open and an ever growing list of things that I have to take in order to graduate.
As a freshman, this is quite overwhelming. Not only is Linfield asking me to plan out my next four years but I might not want to do anything close to what I’m studying now. At this point, I don’t even know what my weekend plans are.
When I came to campus a week before school started, it seemed that everyone and their adviser were celebrating the people who didn’t know what they wanted to major in. Advisers would tell their pupils it was a good thing that they had no idea, because they could do anything they wanted to find their passion.
Then the faculty would suddenly throw the statistic at you that the average college student changes their major approximately three times.
Sure, this may comfort those who came into the whole college experience with some questions, but it instantly petrified me. What if I was one of those people who did not know what they were doing?
For all anyone else knew, I just hid it really well behind a fake major. After what seemed like hours of people assuring me that I was fine, I still had my doubts, but I was willing to continue on. That was until one day in Colloquium when they told us about the “fun” new assignment called the four year plan. Being an overachiever, I decided to get a head start on it that night—this was a mistake. I began to highlight what felt like half of the catalogue, panicking over not knowing what would be offered every year and trying everything in my power not to take science classes. This could only equal distress.
That’s what I get for trying to be productive.
I know that I’m not the only one who does this. Every day I see people in my dorm running up and down the halls asking what people thought about the class that they are in or asking if they know any easy upper level classes, which seems quite contradicting.
Slowly, you see everyone question if they even want to be in their chosen major or enrolled in college at all. It’s like the speakers in the beginning of the year knew all the freshman were going to be freaking out this semester so they told us ahead of time that we would survive.
Looking down at my four year plan, completed to the “T” with question marks and spaces that say “put whatever Linfield Curriculum course is available here,” I wonder if this is really actually helping anyone.
Now I don’t feel like I do not have any idea what I’m going to do over the next couple of years, but I also don’t feel like I have it all figured out either.
As I talk to upper classmen about what they did with their plan they usually respond with “I should find that” or “I changed it completely the next semester.”
So I guess we don’t have to figure it all out right now, because it seems like it’s going to change tomorrow anyway.
Stephanie Hofmann can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.