As the end of my sophomore year draws closer with each passing lecture, I think more about my decision to major in English and Computer Science (College students have to declare by the end of sophomore year). Two, three years ago, as I was applying for and heading to college, I had absolutely no idea what area of study I would end up focusing on, which is why I applied to Penn, undecided.
It seems like there’s a certain stigma surrounding the undecided major; my peers felt that they should at least put Biology or History, something they were somewhat interested in but still unsure about. However, I know that there is nothing wrong with being undecided, as trite as that sounds.
What is important about being undecided is that you still have the motivation to pursue what interests you. My favorite subjects in high school were art and biology, and I found in Penn the ability to customize my academic experience to tailor my interdisciplinary interests. Biological Basis of Behavior and Visual Studies both appealed to me prior to my arrival on campus.
Freshman year, my friends would ask, almost weekly, what my new major was to be: the joke is that I changed my mind so often, cycling through BBB, Economics, Communications, Visual Studies, Psychology, and almost everything else so quickly that it seemed like I’d never settle.
Four semesters later, I’ve realized that at the core of my passion for biology and art during high school was a love for the beautifully imperfect human condition--something that, to my surprise, is very relevant to English. I am by no means an expert in literature; formal structures and Renaissance literature, for example, are still areas I struggle in. But the excitement of pursuing something difficult, achieving some level of understanding, and being able to apply larger concepts across multiple disciplines makes quite a fulfilling academic experience.
-Julia W. '18