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Commentary: Exploration program helpful resource in major decision

The Exploration advising office is located at 352 Denney Hall.

The Exploration advising office is located at 352 Denney Hall. Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editor

There are several ways to approach entering Ohio State as a first-year student enrolled in the University Exploration program, designed for undecided students.

One approach is to be comfortable with the prospect of being at one of the largest universities in the nation with nearly unending resources and possibilities. While it can be comforting to know there are hundreds of options, it’s easy to be overwhelmed when presented all of these possibilities in the first semester of college.

My exploration survey recitation class, which met for the final time Friday, consisted of a series of activities and exercises that were designed to provide a sense of direction and ultimately move me closer to making a decision. I would definitely say this portion of the class oriented my analytical mind when looking at majors. I learned to how to look at many areas of study and almost immediately register majors as either a possibility or an area outside my interests. This learned skill is especially helpful during the lecture portion of the class, which, while recitation has ended, will continue the rest of the semester.

Once a week, a representative from a different college presents a brief overview of what majors are offered within their school, what it might be like to declare the major, what career options follow a degree, how to apply for the major and other general information.

Here’s where the skills from recitation were personally helpful: I can sit through a presentation and by the end have a developed sense about if the presented majors seem like a fit for me. However, there were several cases when I knew I had no interest in the college that was presenting and it felt like a waste of time. Knowing what I don’t want to study only draws me closer what I want to study, though.

As the last recitation class rolled around, what seemed to be a majority of the class had an individual direction and prospect in mind.

I am circumstantially still without precise direction in the realm of academic interests, but I have certainly narrowed down the wide horizon of options. This is something I am comfortable with, and I am notably more comfortable with my academic future than the first day of survey class. And with many more presentations left in the lecture portion of the class, I can only predict that I will have a more precise direction in the next few weeks.

The exploration experience was (and still is) a process consisting of funneling and weeding out academic areas that don’t interest me, which I feel is a similar experience for my undecided classmates. The process works, too, especially well when paired with an adventurous mindset when scheduling classes. An exploration adviser might suggest students try out different areas of study while fulfilling general education requirements, and I’d chime in right with them.

While I can’t say I was handed a shimmering major on a silver platter, I can say the program has helped me analyze and discern my inner interests and apply them when exploring majors and discovering what to study.

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