No idea what to major in

I’m really worried about this and I don’t know why. I’m only a junior; I know that I’ve got some time left to decide. But it feels like I DON’T. I go to a super competitive school and everyone seems to know what they want to do with their lives, and I’m just left behind.

I have interests — that’s not the issue. I love science and English and all things music and theatre and I’d love to work in a career where I can help people. But making a career out of the arts isn’t an option for me. When it comes to English my passion is creative writing and I doubt that I can sustain myself with that. This leaves just science. I don’t want to try pre-med because the idea of eight years in school is just crazy to me, and I’m not totally interested in lab research — not sure why, but that life isn’t for me.

Engineering and computer science is not my passion, but chances are I’ll end up there anyways. And I’m worried that I’ll just be miserable. I’m surrounded by so many people in engineering/CS who just hate their jobs because they had no other options and I don’t want to end up like them. I’ve been lucky enough to have parents who will let me major in what I wanted (granted that the job opportunities are stable) and I don’t want to take that for granted.

I’m not really sure if I’m asking for major ideas or reassurances or whatever. But I just feel so unhappy whenever I think about my future and it’s making me sick. I can’t even look in the future and imagine myself in five years because I have no idea where I’m going. I feel so lonely; everyone arounds me knows what they want while I’m just stuck. I don’t know what to do.

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Leaves just science? Are you kidding? There are millions of people with fantastic careers that are not creative writing, arts or science.

Get out of your own head and start to research what people with degrees in history, literature, urban planning, political science, economics, psychology, anthropology do for a living. Thousands of careers out there!

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Plenty of students don’t know what to major in and that’s perfectly OK! Look for schools where you won’t need to declare a major until sophomore year.


And that’s your solution! Your college choice will be one that let’s you pursue your interests - and the things will settle from there.

The most popular major is… “undecided”. So you are in good company. And I’m willing to bet that a good many of your peers who think they have already “decided” are going to finish with a completely different major six years from now.
It’s quite common, normal and perfectly expected/acceptable for college students to change their majors by sophomore year. Those too might as well have been counted as the “undecided”.

So - the most important answer is: Don’t worry. You’re much more in the “perfectly normal” bucket, than what you believe your peers to be.

Why not - my daughter loved arts, music, theatre - and was the winner of the faculty’s English award every year of high school. She included art history as one of her major/minors.

There are so many careers you could later pursue. Auction houses need specialists/appraisers who work with clients, research the provenance of pieces, produce impressive catalogues, etc. Insurers need experts that make appraisals for policies.
There are many more professional careers in & around music, theatre and other arts that have nothing to do with performing on stage - everything from the business, legal, labor, and accounting side on one end, to the physical and mental wellness of performers on the other end (you like helping people!)

Which is a great talent to have. Whether you’ll eventually use it to produce “pieces” (such as reviews, or the aforementioned auction catalogues), or whether it will help you write compelling briefs, arguments – or museum guides. If anything, much of your college years may be spent writing papers; rather than dreading each one, you might find yourself just “whipping them out” and them being well-received/graded!

Perfectly fine.
My daughter aced every science class in every grade, won every science fair, and got 5s on all the related A/Ps - so everyone assumed this was going to be “her thing”. But, in reality, it was just her “doing her best” (and probably appeasing her helicopter-Dad :smirk:). But, in college or for graduate school, she’s deliberated chosen a path that is not “natural sciences” or otherwise “research-heavy”.

The point of my “fatherly” anecdotes: You don’t let it worry you. It will take time, and that’s okay. But you will find your path at just the perfect moment, and you do have many great avenues open to you!


Definitely don’t have to decide yet, but I get wanting to know. I tell kids to find a large university website with lots of majors, and read through the list. When you find one that sounds interesting, then go to the catalog and read the course descriptions to see if they sound appealing. Career choices can come later.

You want to help people- maybe you could look into medical careers not requiring 8 years. Or marketing to use your creative writing skills. Speech pathology. Cybersecurity. So many options. You could even look at jobs on Indeed in the city of your choice just to see what’s out there you’ve never thought of before.

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Maybe this will help:

For me it solidified my interest in Engineering. I don’t think I’m going to be bored or hate my job, I really enjoy building/designing stuff. If that’s not your passion then don’t study it.

You’ll go to a school - likely have to take a care - my daughter is trying to get her humanities done…but there’s also a history requirement and then math and social science.

You’ll come across cool classes that meet some of these requirements - like environmental ethics is a humanity for my daughter or Intro to Womens Studies (which my son took) or Religion in the modern area.

You’ll hop skotch. You’ll try a few things - and you’ll be fine.

I believe more start undecided than any other major - and many, if not most, change majors while in school.

Find the right school and the rest will take care of itself.

Sanjan, You are in good company. I doubt very many HS students really know what they want to do with their lives. I only know a couple people from undergrad who always knew what they wanted to do, studied it in college, and are still doing it today. I also know people who majored in high-salary, technical fields like CompSci and EE, who changed careers mid-life because they just were not happy.

Here is some gratuitous advice from an old guy:

  1. After you have read about the career paths for various majors, seek out people in fields that interest you and ask about their educations and careers. People will be happy to help you, and you will learn a great deal. You also might discover careers you never knew existed.
  2. Get some kind of work experience - internship, volunteer, anything - in the field that most interests you. After seeing for yourself what that career entails, you might change your mind.
  3. Choose HS classes that will keep your options open. If you change your mind and decide to apply to engineering schools, but you have not taken AP calc or science classes, that will hurt your chance to gain admission to a good program.
  4. Focus on schools that are strong in many different fields, and give you the opportunity to explore. Our tour guide at UofM was a MolecularBiology / Wind Instrument-Picolo double major (I think he needed an extra semester or two to pull that off). The tour guide at CWRU was a MechE major with a minor in Econ.

Good luck, and hang in there.


Not only do high school students not know what they want to major in, a LOT of kids switch majors in college, anyway. I think I was literally the only one in my group of friends not to!