A major identity crisis


A masked student studies in the William T. Young Library during the first day of classes for the fall 2020 semester on Monday, Aug. 17, 2020, at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Michael Clubb | Staff

Morgan Luster

As college students, picking a major may seem like selecting a destiny; however, one’s major is only a part of their identity.

The college experience is a time in which passions are discovered and paths are laid out. Nevertheless, an individual’s major and identity are not synonymous; passions, abilities and opportunities change throughout time.

Oftentimes, a student’s major and identity are intertwined, creating the illusion that they are equivalent. However, a major can also be used as a guiding tool in exploring one’s interests.

An identity is the sum of someone’s parts, including their race, belief systems, political views, experiences and much more.

Meanwhile, a major is a career path that shifts according to the variables of one’s identity.

According to ABC News, a National Center for Education Statistics report found that “at least 80% of college students change their majors at least once.”

Going into my freshman year, I had already declared as a journalism major due to a distorted perception that it was imperative to have already chosen a career path. After only a month in a journalism class, I switched my major to public relations.

Before, I had placed my whole identity in my major and what I thought my career would be. However, with three semesters of college under my belt, I have realized that my major is not all-consuming.

As I continue my journey throughout college, I realize the importance of finding myself outside of my career.

As someone who is developing their identity, I understand that it cannot be formed through my talents because a career is not everlasting. I am a writer, but is that all I am? How else would people identify me? If I weren’t a writer, would I still have an identity?

All my life, my identity was established in what I could do for others instead of what I do for myself.

For instance, I have loved baking since I was a child, as it has always been a source of relaxation for me. Although I do not receive any financial gain from baking, this basic hobby is something that I do for myself because I use it as a mechanism to detach from the world.

In a capitalist society, we are programmed to tie an identity to what makes the most profit. However, paths change with opportunities and passions. This is why it is imperative to discover oneself outside of their job.

An identity is not to be placed in only a position or a platform, but in what makes a person whole. In college, it is easy to be consumed in a major and claim it as an identity as students are finding who they are.

Nonetheless, college is merely a step, rather than a final destination, in self-searching and uncovering one’s destiny.