Take time to figure out what your future holds

By DANIE RANG Columnist

I still remember the excitement of getting my acceptance letter to South Dakota State University. Music and the performing arts were my passion at my small town high school. With a major in music education and theatre, I was so excited.

Then I changed my mind.

After spending my senior year of high school teaching guitar, I realized I just didn’t have the patience to teach music. It came so easy to me and it was frustrating when others just didn’t get it. So, I changed my major to reflect another passion — agriculture.

My first three weeks at SDSU were incredible. I met so many new friends, I loved my classes and I was having the time of my life. Then I took a trip to “student teach” for a day with three friends of mine, to present to my home FFA chapter.

I hated every second of it. I couldn’t stand being in a room of 13-year-old boys and it was even more frustrating than teaching music. That night, I broke down in tears because I realized I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. Everything I thought was “my dream” was a failure. Even after two full semesters and another change in major, I still wasn’t excited for my future.

This year, I was a community assistant in Pierson Hall. One night, one of my residents came to speak with me. She was contemplating dropping out because she hated all of her classes and she had no idea where to go. She wanted to do something else, anything else, and she was on the verge of tears. So I told her what I would like to say to every other freshman at SDSU:

That’s OK.

Coming to college is a new experience. People always told me I would “find out who I was” at college and I laughed because I thought I already knew who I was. The truth is, when you finally get out of your small town schools and away from the people you’ve been with for 12 years, you change. And that’s OK.

You might try two or three different majors (or five in my case) before you really find your passion.

You might take a class to fulfill a globalization requirement and decide you need to major in global studies or political science.

You might take a psychology class and decide you want another minor.

You might just really hate the classes in your major even though it’s all you’ve ever wanted to do in life.

And that’s all OK.

To anyone who is questioning his or her major, or even college as a whole, you’re not the only one.

If you talk to any upperclassmen (or even faculty) on campus, many of them did not initially plan to be where they are today. Life is unexpected and your interests change — so can your major. You are allowed to change your mind as many times as you want.

Even if you are 100 percent sure on your major, take a class on something that interests you. You might find an unexpected passion you never knew you had. By putting your head down and powering through four years of classes and thousands of dollars, wouldn’t it suck to find out you would rather major in engineering or nursing instead of journalism?

It sounds cliché to say “do what makes you happy,” but, quite honestly, this is the rest of your life. You have four years before anyone actually expects an honest answer to the question “what do you want to do?” Enjoy the incredible opportunities offered while you can.


Danie Rang is an agricultural communications & political science major at SDSU and can be reached at [email protected]