Choosing majors over self-development

Is the University fostering a positive environment for self-development?

By the time students reach the 60-credit mark, if they have not declared a major yet, the University will place a hold on their student account. This hold prevents students from registering for classes, obtaining transcripts, etc. Interestingly enough, holds usually are placed on students who are in some way financially indebted with the University. It seems odd that by not having a major upon completing 60 credits, the University somehow feels that a student owes it something.

Given the University’s 15-credit policy, 60 credits usually are accumulated around the end of a student’s second year. It could be earlier depending on transfer credits, Advanced Placement credits and courseload. With this timeline, the University is employing a type of mentality that places emphasis on concentration of study over self-development. On one end, students are pushed by parents who many times encourage their children to pursue a certain major. On another end, students are pressured by the University to decide a major when they might not be ready. In reality, college is a great opportunity for an individual to engage in serious inner exploration, development and examination. The combination of reaching adulthood, having the opportunity to think outside of our parents’ influences and the ability to think critically all contribute to the fostering of self-development. However, it’s unfair to have a timeline for students to declare a major when people progress at different levels. A general standard would be great if only the policy encouraged instead of mandated. Any time an institution attempts to set rigid guidelines on complex life decisions, problems arise. To force an individual to plan unnaturally is just as audacious as telling an individual when they should find their life partner.

A person is able to find a career that molds their studies with their lifestyle, beliefs and interests only when they have developed themselves. Instead of having rigid rules that essentially push students to find a concentration, a natural timeline that allows for a smooth extension between self-development and study is needed.