Over the past year and a half, there have been a number of elements of the college experience that I’ve particularly appreciated. Whether it’s meeting peers from around the world, discovering unexpected interests, or rekindling overlooked passions, the university setting often provides an ideal medium. Within a liberal arts college, students have the opportunity to explore new possibilities, challenge themselves academically, and thrive as members of a community.
After years of taking standardized classes in middle and high school, students at Yale must define their personal “core” subjects. There’s no set of classes that all students must take before they graduate – instead, we have distributional requirements that encourage students to look outside of their comfort zones for the sake of discovery.
Somewhere between sophomore and junior year, this academic discovery evolves into refinement. Nowhere is this more obvious than in a student’s choice of a major.
On a personal level, trying to pick out a major from Yale’s 75+ options has proved to be especially challenging. There are just too many things that I would love to study for the next two and a half years. I want to learn more about early childhood education, Central American Spanish poetry, and the pharmaceutical applications of chirality in organic chemistry. I would love to read more about the legal struggles of Native Americans and understand the psychological implications of the Stanford prison experiment.
At this point in time, I’m most intrigued by the beauty of biochemistry and the cultural influences on the Spanish language. I’m going to find a major (or two) that incorporates my primary passions. I’ve spent the past year and a half trying to decide where my academic compass is guiding me. And the best part is that I have a whole additional semester and a summer to decide.
In the moment that I’m walking to class down York Street and suddenly considering the possibility of an art and chemistry double major, an image comes into my mind. It’s the image of a small, stone gargoyle embedded in the archway that leads into the Law School right across the street from my dorm room.
Carving himself out of the stone, I see a piece of myself in this gargoyle. I, too, am carving myself, slowly refining my interests and passions. Untill the day that my dean forces me to declare a major, I’ll remain happily “Undecided.”