Major Decisions

With standardized tests like the SAT and AP exams fast approaching, I would like to remind Andover students, amongst all this frenzy, to spare some of their time to take advantage of the many opportunities at Andover. While these tests (and college admission) may seem like everything, ultimately, it is more important to find personal passions.

For example, before coming to Andover, I absolutely abhorred history and math; once I began taking classes in these two subjects with inspiring teachers, however, I began to harbor a newfound liking for the two subjects – enough to consider pursuing a career in those fields. At the same time, I also had the opportunity to further develop my passion for writing. I joined every student publication and writing club available, from “The Courant” to the Andover Literature Poetry and Creative Alliance. In addition to my academic pursuits, I also devoted time to playing squash and practicing the clarinet.

I cannot imagine I am the only student at Andover who has developed such varied interests. After all, all students are involved in classes, sports and extracurricular activities. It is strange, therefore, that there is an expectation for high school students to already know what they want to do in college or even as a profession. The ACT website states, “Students who start out with the right major choice can save significant time and money, which is increasingly important given the rising cost of attending college.”

To those adults, teachers, peers and family friends: no, I do not know what I want to major in, nor do I know what I want to do in the future. While I understand these questions are often just conversation starters, they are still reflective of a larger pressure for high schoolers to specialize and specialize early.

I cannot count how many times I admonished myself for not being more decisive. I was worried that I was wasting time learning to be only mediocre in a disparate range of subjects. When I discovered that other students shared a similar uncertainty, however, I realized students should not be afraid to explore different fields before eventually settling on a career.

That said, there is nothing wrong with already having your own passion. For instance, my roommate adores mathematics and spends at least three hours of her free time every day solving calculus problems. I applaud those who have already found something that they love. I also feel, though, that there is nothing wrong with being unsure.

I encourage students unsure about their future professions to maximize their exposure to all things at Andover. Enroll in an interesting elective, join a new club, pick up the guitar and don’t rush. Take the time to discover what you truly want to accomplish during your careers by first exploring all that Andover has to offer.