Minus the City: I Do Declare

Sophomore year at Colgate, and at most universities, means declaring your major. Even though most of my friends have already declared their intended majors, there is a sense of hesitation that comes along with cementing my plans for the next three years. It’s as simple as filling out a piece of paper, but the significance behind the words leaves me questioning my decision. It’s not because I lack interest in my classes. It’s not that I don’t know what I want. It’s not because I’m afraid of others’ reactions. As I thought about it more, I realized it’s because declaring your major is a form of commitment. By declaring your major, you sign your name to fulfilling an obligation to yourself and this university, without knowing if you’ll have enough faith in yourself to fulfill those expectations. 

After realizing this, I began to think about how this fear of commitment transcends far beyond our majors or minors and our personal lives as well at Colgate. Relationships at college are inherently tricky because they imply a form of commitment. However, in an environment that is as ever-changing and complex as Colgate, it’s hard to commit yourself to anyone or anything. You meet new people everyday, you constantly find yourself in changing social scenes, and you’re left wondering if the things you want today are going to be the same things you will want tomorrow. 

Being someone who has continually run from her own feelings, the idea of really committing myself to anything scares me. And I don’t think I’m the only one. We tend to escape situations that make us uncomfortable, the ones that challenge the preconceived notions that have

become the underpinnings of our minds. But this constant fleeing chase from what scares us leaves us stagnant in murky waters filled with our past heartbreaks and disappointments. The only way to surmount those crippling currents is by changing our direction. In order to grow and experience new things, you have to go through some uncertain and uncomfortable situations. But maybe, by going through these challenging experiences, we will be able to garner a more honest sense of who we are and what we really want out of life. 

This sense of commitment doesn’t have to mean starting a serious relationship with someone or changing your entire career path. Commitment on this campus is hard to find in the traditional sense, but I do think that it exists in other ways. When you find someone that you really do care about, just listening to them vent about their day can show a commitment that you have toward them. Drastic steps aren’t always necessary to show our true emotions, but suppressing how we really feel for the fear of the unknown definitely gets you nowhere. 

So, whether it’s declaring your major or declaring your feelings for someone, don’t let the idea of commitment frighten you from reaching a new level of happiness. There are times when it’s going to be daunting, and you’re not going to be sure if you can live up to the expectations that are placed upon you. But, each time you put yourself in a new and challenging situation, you give yourself the opportunity to grow and mature as an individual person. Maybe you’ll even mature into someone with a declared degree and a declared relationship.

Contact Helen Misiewicz at [email protected].