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Discussion Starter #1
I realize that there are probably already threads about this topic, but... I'll take a chance and visit it again?

I'm currently a freshman in college and I feel like I have no idea what I'm doing with my life, while everyone around me seems to have it all figured out. And, maybe for a few weeks/months at a time I'll commit to one path, only to change my mind completely once I start feeling trapped.
Yeah... "Trapped" this soon? I know. It sounds like an exaggeration or something but it's really not. I seriously just get to a point after "making up my mind" for so long where I just have this terrible anxiety over it.

I feel like it's sort of a struggle between what I want to do and what I know is realistic, but even then I'm not sure if I can commit to what is "realistic" because of the way that I am.

Specifically, I've been going back and forth between majoring in English and social work. I've always enjoyed reading and writing, and I have thought about going into publishing or teaching. Even though I know that publishing and academia are sort of difficult and competitive (which I am not), I just can't make myself give up on English.
But, helping people is also extremely important to me, and I want to feel like what I do matters, so social work is also a possibility. And I feel like it's the more "reliable" option of the two. Even still, I have doubts about whether or not I would succeed in the field because, while I want to help people in any way that I can and there are so many issues that are important to me that I would like to contribute to, I am definitely an introvert in the extreme, which is obviously a problem in a field where people/communication skills are key.

So, for those of you who have been to college or are in college and have your minds made up, did you feel similarly and how did you do it? How did you decide what to major in and how did you deal with committing to a major?
Or even, if you could go back what would you do differently?

I'm just looking for a bit of advice from like-minded people because while I've looked into a lot of resources, I feel like it's not helping me make up my mind at all...

[Also, sorry if it was a little rambly. :blushed:]
 

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I go to university for sociology and social science, but I have a constant urge to switch to English. I think I know how you feel kind of=P I try to take an English class every term so that way I can have my fun with English and sociology. Maybe you can go a joint English social work major; I know it doesn't sound plausible but just maybe!
 

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Can you double major at your college or a major/minor? At my college, it's required to have a major and a minor in different fields. I'm majoring in art and a social work type minor (called VESA that stands for Values, Ethics and Social Action). I have a lot of interests and it was hard to narrow down what I wanted to major in it at first. I originally wanted to double major in art and english/creative writing, but it would have been too much with the VESA minor. I figured I could still write even if I wasn't majoring it.

If you can't double major/minor, you could consider still exploring your interests even if you're not majoring in them. For example, you could volunteer somewhere and that way you'd still be helping people even if social work isn't your major.
 

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I know exactly how you feel. I'm in a similar situation, but I'm 24 and I've been in school part time/full time ever since I graduated high school. I'm at junior standing, but I finally took a break this fall to figure it all out, and I'm not getting very far.

For all of these years I've been on the fence between studying music, english, and environmental science. (This will be a long post, I apologize in advance. The first part of this rant is about my life and struggles in college that may or may not be similar to yours. The second part is my actual advice to you from what I've learned.)

In high school I took nothing but english and music courses in my junior and senior years. So, you'd think that I would have continued with that in college right? Nope, I decided to a college 3.5 hours from home to study Natural Resources. A big switch don't you think? And it was, and I failed, and I moved home. I decided to go down the science route because I'm a big outdoorsman and wanted to help the environment. I never thought about the coursework. I was a Boy Scout and made it all the way to the top rank (Eagle Scout) which is a proud accomplishment, but academically music and english where my niche. My music teacher even offered me a scholarship...which I FOOLISHLY did not accept. I was always at my best when writing or playing music, and I regret not following that pathway from the start.

When I moved home after my first semester in school I swore that I was going to study music. Then I switched to Environmental Science for a semester. Then I switched to English, but felt to much anxiety in the first day of the semester because it was different from my usual env. science background and dropped the courses. So, then I switched to env. science/geography again and transfered to another college. I lasted a two years part time because I ended up failing out of a chemistry course (oh ya, the only class I ever failed in high school was chemistry, what was I thinking????). After failing the chemistry course, I lost hope in env. science and went back to my previous college to get my Associates of Arts and Science degree (which should have only taken two years) because I didn't know what else to do or what to major in.

I spent this past summer applying to different colleges for Geography and Sustainable Management majors that were similar to the Env. Science stuff that I studied. I was accepted for everything that I applied to, but didn't follow through because I've been so indecisive.

My first semester of school I took the MBTI test and found out that I was an INFP. Last year I took it again and I still tested INFP. I took the Hollands Strong test and tested ASc/i. Both of these tests have pointed me in the direction of English and music, yet I fight it by trying to study env. science.

So, here I am six years later. I'm working full time and trying to figure out how to finish my Bachelor's degree. My girlfriend of 7 years is pissed at me because she wants to move in together (yes, i'm still living at home...) and get married. I'm ready for all of that emotionally, but finacially I couldn't afford it all. I got my associates degree last June just to say that I got something out of my years in school.

Here's what I have learned from my years in school:
-I'm good at writing and prefer courses that require essays for exams
-I prefer subjects that deal with ideas rather than hard facts
-I want to finish my degree at a previous college that I attended that is affordable and close to home
-I want to work for a non-profit organization dealing with nature
-I still want to write and play music when I can

I love my college in every way and know that I want to finish my degree there because it is affordable and close to home. The problem is that I can't decide on what to major in...still. After six years taking various courses across the board and doing all the testing and advising and counseling, I'm still unsure.

Right now I'm on the fence between majoring in English and Organizational Leaddership. I want to do English, but the course times are inconvenient, so I would have to either go to school full time (which is not an option) or I would have to finish it up part time (which would take 4 years). The Organizational Leaderhsip major focuses on non-profit managment and allows me the most flexibility in the long run, but the courses are in business, accounting, leadership, politics, and economics. All of those courses are dull and uninteresting to me, but it is the cheapest and fastest option to a Bachelor's degree.

So, it all comes down to that same question we all hear...do you follow your heart or do you follow your head?

My advice to you from all that I have learned:

-Take as many career and personality tests as you can through your advisor or counselor at school. Just ask them about it. Take the MBTI every year if you have to, but definitely take the Hollands Strong test. Send them an email and ask them if you can take some tests. They are free to you anyway.

-Finish your General Education courses asap. I really wish that I did because half of my years in school were spent finishing them (because I failed a couple of them). They are required and it sucks. I know this, but to get your degree you have to do them so you might as well get them out of the way...but...

-Try to balance your semesters with gen. ed courses and courses that you are interested in. Take some courses in sociology and english to see which ones you really do prefer. When you pit them up against eachother in one semester like that, I think you will have a better perspective on which you prefer over the other. Major in English and minor in Sociology or major in Sociology and minor in English...but only figure out which way you want to go after taking a few of the courses together.

-Join some clubs related to those majors to gain some insight on what it's like to live and breath those subjects. Or, volunteer somewhere that is related to the subjects. I think that because you are a freshmen, it may be harder to get a job or internship right now, but keep your eyes open anyway. You never know when an opportunity may come along.

-When thinking about a career (which I know you've done by now), the best advice I recieved was to think about a job you would do for free simply because you might love to do that job everyday. For me it was working at a nature center, and now I am looking into non-profit work because I want to work at a nature center near where I want to move to. So, think about what job you would do for free and consider it as a possible career.

-Go see a school counselor. I'm not stating that you have something wrong with you, but in my experience my counselor was better at helping me to sort out my ideas than were my parents, family, friends, or girlfriend. I have just had a hard time deciding on what to do in life and it seems as if you are having that same indecision issue. School counselors are free and are better at giving advice period.

-Keep a journal/diary. It will help to clear your mind when you need to sleep.

-Don't transfer. I did it four times and it's a big mess. I'm in debt with school loans and credit cards. Don't do it unless you absolutely must.

-English will offer you life long learning. It will give you skills that are diverse. It will make you employable. From my own research, it seems as if you could get just about any job with a degree in english, but if you know what direction you want to head in, try to specialize your english studies in that area. So, you like writing and reading...read and write about social issues. Search the web and search the library for books on that subject. I'm into the outdoors, so I have researched nature writing for example.

-Look back through the previous threads, I have one on there called "Inspire me to study English." There are some good posts on there from other INFP's.

-Know your resources. Save those good web searches on your favorites so that you can come back to them. Search amazon.com for some good books to read about careers in english and sociology (but don't buy them, see if your library has them, lol).

-When it comes to making a decision about your major, try as best as you can to make the decision early and stick with it. There will be times that you hate your major. There will be more times when things get hard and you feel like switching. There may even be times when you question what you're doing and wish you had gone down the other path, but if you stick it out you can at least know that you followed your heart no matter how much your head was telling you that it was wrong. Once you make the decision, you should feel better. I look forward to choosing my major, finally, and I know that I will be less stressed once I choose. The hard part is researching and deciding. It should be easier to follow through once you have a plan...

-Once you choose your major, plan out the rest of your years in school if you can. Try to plan out exactly which courses you will take and in which order. Having a physical plan that you can look at should help out a lot as far as keeping you on track. By doing this you will also know when you will graduate and how much it will cost. Saving as much money as possible while in school IS very important. Trust me on this. Getting to in debt early will make everything else much more difficult. The added stress of debt has caused me to make bad decisions about what to major in or where to go to school.

It all sounds crazy to an INFP, I know, but this is how we struggle. We struggle with indecision and trying to follow our hearts rather than our heads. Even when I've followed my heart, I've had self doubt issues, but you know what you like to do and what you are good at. You know that feelig like I do of elation when you're doing something that you feel you were meant to do. That's how I feel when I'm writing. That's how I feel when I'm in the outdoors. For you it may be different, but I know that you know what is in your heart despite the self doubt. I too want to help people. I've realized that my way of being able to do that is through a nature center because it allows me to be expressive about my passion for nature and humanity. If your passion is for helping people, then follow that intuition. I've found that non-profit work is the best way to do that because it is less bureaucratic than coroporate or government work, and I think you feel like you are actually helping people for the right reasons instead of just following some procedure.

I guess that is all that I can say for now. Sorry for how long this post got. Let me know if it helps! I really hope it does!
(and if anyone has some advice for me, that would be great too, haha)
 

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I'm in college with an individually-designed major, so I could study everything I wanted to be studying.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks so much for the advice.
I have an appointment with my academic adviser in a few weeks, so I'm hoping that he can help me out a bit with this. And I'm definitely going to be making an appointment with a counselor through the office of student affairs as well to talk to them about my options, take career/personality assessments, etc.
I think I might be leaning towards English with a possible double major or minor in either sociology or psychology, just to keep my options open if I decide that I ultimately do want to become a social worker or counselor or something along those lines.

I do feel like once I actually sort everything out and come up with an actual plan and declare my major and everything, I'll feel a lot better and less anxious about everything. But, as of now, I feel like I'm all over the place.
I just have to keep telling myself that it will [somehow] work out in the end.
 

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I'm in college with an individually-designed major, so I could study everything I wanted to be studying.
an individually designed major? that is just great, I wish I had this opportunity, the idea should be more widespread before school becomes irrelevant all together, too many people ve gone to college just because they had to and ve only come out as zombies.
 

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I'm completely with you. I spent the last year taking a break from college so I could figure things out, and, in many ways, I am still at a loss. I have finished up my two-year degree in English and am going back to school this upcoming semester, however, I am not sure whether I wish to pursue English further or not. (At a four-degree level, the jobs simply seem scarce, but I could be wrong.) The problem is few of the areas that interest me rarely have an practical application in the real world. >.> To be honest, if I could, I would probably major in Philosophy. (Would anyone like to pay me to think? :D :D) I love ideas; English allows this to a great extent, in the reading of literature, but my true motive for selecting English was to creative write... and who needs a major for that? It seems like something you either just do or do not do. *sigh* So yesterday I reverted back to undeclared. I am going to at least cover the generals if I can as I further... "deliberate."

On that note, I'll share a rather lengthy quote/excerpt:
"Question: I am interested in so many things, and I have a terrible fear because my mother keeps telling me that I'm just going to be exploring the rest of my life and never get anything done. But I find it really hard to set my ways and say, "Well, do I want to do this, or should I try to exploit that, or should I escape and completely do one thing?"

Anaïs Nin: One word I would banish from the dictionary is 'escape.' Just banish that and you'll be fine. Because that word has been misused regarding anybody who wanted to move away from a certain spot and wanted to grow. He was an escapist. You know if you forget that word you will have a much easier time. Also you're in the prime, the beginning of your life; you should experiment with everything, try everything.... We are taught all these dichotomies, and I only learned later that they could work in harmony. We have created false dichotomies; we create false ambivalences, and very painful one's sometimes -the feeling that we have to choose. But I think at one point we finally realize, sometimes subconsciously, whether or not we are really fitted for what we try and if it's what we want to do.

You have a right to experiment with your life. You will make mistakes. And they are right too. No, I think there was too rigid a pattern. You came out of an education and are supposed to know your vocation. Your vocation is fixed, and maybe ten years later you find you are not a teacher anymore or you're not a painter anymore. It may happen. It has happened. I mean Gauguin decided at a certain point he wasn't a banker anymore; he was a painter. And so he walked away from banking. I think we have a right to change course. But society is the one that keeps demanding that we fit in and not disturb things. They would like you to fit in right away so that things work now."
— Anaïs Nin
 

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I'm also bouncing around trying to figure out what I want. I'm a freshman and am really into computers so tried majoring in the computer sciences field. I didn't think about the course requirements though and was overwhelmed with the math and science required. I ended up dropping one of my needed classes because i knew i could never pass it. It was only an intro class too so there was allot more to follow.
Now i'm at square one trying to decide what to major in and whether or not i should stop at two years or go onto four..
 
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