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Anxiety and Comfort: Declaring Your Major

This morning I had to spend a few minutes of my time immersed in utter chaos. Five minutes late, I walked into Hicks Banquet Hall. I was bombarded by hundreds of my peers, bumbling around, cake in one hand and a pink piece of paper in the other. I signed my name on my own sheet of paper, moved from table to table getting the signatures I needed, grabbed my own cake and ran. I turned that paper in as fast as I could, escaping the crowd of other sophomores taking selfies and waiting for professor’s signatures.

That, in a nutshell, was Declaration of Major Day.

Every winter K sophomores are asked to declare their major(s) on one special day, with cake and celebration. The school makes it out to be a pretty major day (pun very much intended)! To some extent the energy and anxiety of it all does make the occasion feel vastly important, like you’re signing your life away. But, in reality, it isn’t really all that bad.

One of the best pieces of advice I ever received from an upperclassman was to declare more majors and minors early, and potentially drop them later, rather than waiting to add majors or minors and having to deal with mountains of paperwork later. Academic interests are always shifting, but no one is ever interested in paperwork. K’s open curriculum really allows students to explore their interests. We are given a year and a half to figure out our what departments, subjects, and professors we like before we have to declare; but sometimes you just need more time. Knowing that my chosen majors (Anthropology/Sociology and Critical Ethnic Studies with a minor in Political Science) aren’t set in stone is really comforting. I have the ability to change them if I need to later on. It really is nice knowing that I have that freedom.

It also feels great knowing that I belong to certain departments now. I made a decision and (at least for now) I’m sticking to it! I no longer have to introduce myself with or timidly discuss my tentative majors. It feels great being able to say, “I am this. I am that.” It really lets you feel, even more so, like you belong to the K community.

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About Kate Ballew ’17

Kate Ballew (’17) is a sophomore Anthropology/Sociology and Critical Ethnic Studies double-major with a Political Science minor. She is the treasurer of Kaleidoscope, K’s LGBT+ group on campus, and has been a part of multiple theater productions in the Kalamazoo College Festival Playhouse. She is going to study abroad in Trinidad during the Spring of 2015. In her free time she loves petting cats and watching the food network.