Back when I was a first year, I was under the impression that most of the people around me had everything figured out, knew what they were going to major in, what kinds of activities they were going to participate in and all that stuff. I, on the other hand, didn’t have a single idea of what I wanted to do with my life, and because of that I felt this odd mixture of worthlessness and a strong sense that I didn’t belong. I guess I mean to say that I felt that, because I hadn’t figured my life out, I didn’t deserve to be in school—let alone be surrounded by so many people who already knew what they were doing with their lives.

Well, I was wrong on many accounts. I wasn’t nearly as alone as I thought I was. It turns out that most people don’t have a plan when they start their first year of college. Furthermore, many of the people who do seem to know what they want to study may change their minds after taking a few classes in the subject and realizing that it is just not for them. The point is that most people aren’t 100 percent certain of their majors when they start out, so it’s nothing to worry about. What’s important is that you figure it out eventually. Look at me: I mean, I’m a senior now, and I still really have no idea what I’m doing, but I can assure you that I am in the minority in this regard; most students are able to get their stuff together by senior year.

Use this time to explore your options. Don’t try to confine yourself to one thing, but take classes in subjects that you never would have thought of studying. That’s what I did (well, I mostly signed up for classes that were still open at registration, but I would never have taken them otherwise, so it still counts). There’s plenty of time to find a subject that you enjoy, or—at the very least—you’ll find one that you don’t absolutely despise and can tolerate for extended periods of time.

Try not to think of college as something that will “determine the rest of your life” and you’ll be fine; although what you do here is important for your life, it’s not the endgame. There’s still time, and you will have many years of your life after college (well, hopefully you will).  Now is a great time to explore your options. Even if you do think you know what you want to do, still explore your options. If you’re anything like several people I know, you’ll probably end up hating what you initially set out to do.