Transforming Your Passions into Majors

Author: Randi McQueen

When it comes to the topic of selecting a major, I consider myself an exception. Since middle school, I was convinced that I wanted to become an architect, and nothing has changed since. However, if you are currently in high school, and you have no idea what you want to pursue as a career, there is absolutely no reason to fear!


Like I said, I am the exception. Dozens and possibly hundreds of undergraduate students at Notre Dame take months to years to pinpoint their interests. Luckily, the First Year of Studies at Notre Dame allows first year students the opportunity to enroll in a variety of classes to explore their interests or curiosities. Students are not required to declare a major until the end of their sophomore year of studies. Even after declaring a major, it is still possible to add a minor or to switch your major.

Notre Dame Architecture


While choosing to major in Architecture was easy for me, I still kept my mind open to other interests. Due to credit I received in high school, I had some extra room in my schedule freshman year, which allowed me to take an Intermediate French course. While I studied French for four years in high school, I never really considered pursuing it in college beyond a couple of courses.


After finishing my freshman year at Notre Dame, I spent 6 weeks with a French family in Tours, France on a Summer Language Abroad Grant awarded to me by Notre Dame. The experience was so great that I chose to continue enrolling in more French classes, despite the heavy load of requirements involved in majoring in Architecture.


Today, I am not only pursuing majors in both Architecture and French, but I am seriously considering moving to France after graduation. Since middle school, I have had my life pretty planned out, and this is the first time I have deviated from that “linear” path of events. After my prior experiences living with a family, studying abroad in Rome as part of my architecture studies, and interning in Paris this past summer, I feel confident that I can make the big move after graduation.

Notre Dame Architecture


In my almost four years of college experience, one of the greatest lessons I have learned is to be open-minded. This applies to all aspects of life at college, but in particular, when exploring the academic opportunities, it is crucial to immerse yourself in different courses, talk to professors about your interests, and be flexible in the journey to graduation.


If you follow your passions and pursue what you are most interested in, Notre Dame has a way of opening doors to new places and new opportunities you never thought even existed. My decision to take just one French course in college has already led me through an amazing journey, and it is now guiding my post-graduation plans for the next chapter in my life.