College taught me that I don’t need a major

A large multi cultural group of college students standing outside on campus grounds

Ever since high school I had people telling me that I would “figure it out.” Whether I was admitting I had no plans for my major, no plans for my career, or no plans for dinner I was always assured that by the time came to make a decision I would have a crystal clear vision of that part of my future. I eventually came to trust in the inevitability of these inner convictions that the universe would thrust upon me. However, while I always figured out dinner, the time eventually came for me to pick my major and I still was clueless.

Again, I was informed that the average person switches majors 3 times and therefore, my initial choice didn’t matter. So I haphazardly settled on a major and focused on my schoolwork. I switched my majors a few times in my first year, but never really felt the “click” I had come to expect. Patiently, I waited to see the light.

Suddenly, here I am. I’m about to graduate and searching for my next step. Only through undergoing the same frantic search for the next step have I realized that I never completed my previous one. Sure, I’m going to graduate with a degree in Business Analytics and Psychology, but they don’t really feel like my majors. I learned a lot about those subjects, and picked up some valuable skills, but they haven’t really become a part of my identity as I hoped my ideal major would. I still have no career path, no next job, no plan.

Ironically, this realization actually calmed me down. It calmed me down because I know that I have discovered a vision in college. Not a vision of my future job or chosen major, but a vision of myself. The obstacle course of college taught me what type of friends I want, what my priorities should be, how to cook ramen noodles 26 different ways. Most of all though, college taught me that I don’t need a major.

I had struggles in college; academically, socially, spiritually. But I also had a lot of joy, fun, fulfillment, friends and achievements. I worked hard and relaxed, studied and ate (you might notice food keeps popping up as a prominent theme), slacked off and excelled. And I did it all with no major.

College was an adventure that I enjoyed immensely. And if it turns out that the rest of my life follows the same adventurous path, then I’m ok with that. I don’t need to know what the future holds as long as I know how to enjoy the present.


About the Author
Ben Miller

Ben Miller

Ben Miller is a Haslam Scholar and swimmer at the University of Tennessee located in Knoxville, Tennessee. He is currently double majoring in Business Analytics and Psychology with plans to start graduate school after he graduates in May, 2016. In the future, he wants to work at a Fortune 500 company and eventually win a business analytics competition through the website Kaggle. Ben is on the university swim team at UT and has competed at SEC Championships, US National Championships, and US Open Water National Championships. He also is on the board of Pursuit, UT’s undergraduate research journal, and the organizing board of TEDxUTK. In his free time he likes to screen print and hike around Knoxville. He has been a Pearson Campus Ambassador since May of 2014.