A major decision: Why open options is not a bad choice



Abbigail Epperson

Three has always been a magic number. Three musketeers, three stooges, three Jonas brothers, etc. Three is also the amount of times that the average college student changes their major. For some people who have been the same major since they began college, this number may seem crazy. 

This number has gone down in recent years, however, due to growing number of students coming into college as open options. Around 20 percent of students coming into Iowa State are undeclared. That means that one in five students do not yet know what they want to do when they enter college, and that’s okay. With so many majors to choose from on the Iowa State campus, it could take you a while to decide exactly which one you want to pursue. 

While not feeling the need to change your major multiple times is a big plus to coming in open options, there are also several other benefits. You are able to spend at least your first year, if not your first two, getting to take classes from several different departments to figure out which one you most prefer. This will get you experience in multiple areas and will easily knock out your general education requirements so once you declare a major, you can focus all your time on taking classes for that major. 

Another point to remember is that not everyone ends up going into the field that they studied for their undergraduate degree. If you are stressing out about your degree because you think it will affect the rest of your life, that is not necessarily true. It is possible that this degree will just be a stepping stone to the career that you do end up pursuing. That being said, it is still a good idea to keep the future in mind when making your decision about a major, because your degree can make the future slightly easier to navigate. 

If you are still a freshman or sophomore and you are now starting to question what you chose, don’t be afraid to go open options so that you can have more freedom to explore. Maybe, you just need a refreshed look at your major in order to get excited about it again. Whatever you decide, you are paying for this education, so you should just make sure that in the end, when you are graduating, everything you did was worthwhile.

While you are undecided, take a chance to explore the whole campus. Try taking classes in things you always found somewhat interesting. You never know what great career path could be waiting out there for you. College is an adventure. You just have to remember that it is okay not to know your destination in the beginning. You have time. For now, just enjoy the ride.