Despite popular opinion, I didn’t enter Stanford with a clear idea of what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Instead, I found myself unsure of how to proceed, and I felt pulled in a million different directions. Everyone told me to venture into STEM, but was Engineering for me? I never took a Philosophy course, but did that mean that the Humanities were off-limits? Questions like these buzzed around my head nonstop as Move-in Day drew near. No one seemed to have the answers, and I felt even more isolated as the first day of college approached. Finally, the big day arrived. Yet even after Orientation, I was still engaged in this internal conflict to decide what major was truly best for me.
Fall Quarter just seemed to exacerbate the issue entirely. My class schedule was all over the map: Chemistry, Calculus, Law, Advising, & Material Science. While it seemed everyone around me had their lives perfectly planned out, I struggled with how to proceed. Existential Crisis Level was well over 9000. But as time progressed I began to notice something striking in my conversations with peers. No matter how perfect they appeared to be, I realized that almost none of the Frosh I knew actually had their lives figured out! We were all participants in this grand social experiment, officially known as college, where we were continually pushed to our limits in order to discover who we truly are.
There is no magic panacea for indecisiveness, and for each person the path will be different. For me, it consisted of changing my degree plans approximately twice a month until Spring Quarter. I explored everything from Biomechanical Engineering to Economics and all the majors in between. I allowed myself to take classes that *gasp* actually interested me instead of those that I “should be taking”. As I ventured down these different paths, I became more confident in myself. By the end of my Frosh year, I realized that my love for problem-solving and my desire to be tackle unprecedented problems led me straight to Mechanical Engineering.
Although I don’t want to end up working in a traditional engineering role, I truly believe that Mechanical Engineering is the major for me. I now aspire to work in an Operations Management role in either the Health or Energy Industry, a position that doesn’t seem fit for someone with my major. But if my unorthodox journey through Frosh year has taught me anything, it is that there isn’t one correct path in life. Don’t feel pressured to enter a major that many deem to be required for certain fields; pursue something that brings you joy and make that major work for you. Not to get all philosophical, but your major doesn’t define your destiny! No matter where you are on the spectrum of “Certainty about Life Decisions”, it’s going to be fine. Enjoy your time here and don’t fret about nonexistent issues. It’ll all make sense in the end.
Class of 2020