"What's your major?"

I heard this question so many times my Freshman year at Berkeley, and every time, I struggled for an answer. I felt I hadn’t experienced enough of life to firmly know what I wanted to do in the future, and now I realize, I never will. Life is a continuous journey of learning and self-discovery.

When I first learned about “design thinking” my Freshman year, the things I wanted to do started to make sense. I loved art, music, creativity, and volunteering. The more I learned about design, the more I knew I wanted to use design to create effective, human-centered solutions to social problems.

I explored a number of courses and majors during my first two years of college. I considered Business, Biology, Economics, Computer Science, Sustainable Design, or creating my own major in Letters and Science. I joined Berkeley Innovation my sophomore year, where I worked on design projects and met many passionate and creative people. That semester, I also auditioned for AFX, a huge hip hop dance group on campus. Little did I know how that one decision would entirely shift and shape my college experience. Through dance, I grew more confident, more artist, and creative. I learned to use my body as a medium of communication. As a designer, communication is a key component of what you do. You need to communicate to your users, communicate to your client, communicate with your team. The way you present a product is like the way you present a piece of dance choreography: There is a story behind it and you need to learn how to tell that story.

Eventually, I decided to major in Cognitive Science to focus on Human-Computer Interaction and learn the emotions behind designing interfaces to connect people and technology. Along the way, I learned the value in taking classes outside of your requirements and in taking classes that expand your perspective. I took classes such as singing, web design decal, guitar decal, stigma and prejudice, landscape architecture, and product design. When creating your schedule, make room for interesting and fun classes.

If there is one thing you should take from this post, it is to start actively exploring. Attend info sessions for the various design clubs and join one. From there you will meet people who share your passions and can give you multiple perspectives. They will help you and work with you to shape your journey.

“What’s your first step?”