As individuals, college students make choices that both reflect their past lives and constitute their futures. This research examines the ways five college sophomores built their lives in the complex world of a research university campus. These students took a myriad of paths to negotiate the intricacies of the college context and construct their lives, but they were guided along those paths by their goals for the future. The extent and quality of their interaction with peers and faculty also reflected their instrumentalism and their efforts to find a space within the larger campus. The study illuminates the idiosyncratic process of choosing a major and the nature of a student’s commitment to a discipline. These student experiences show a complex building process with some similarities and many individual variations which should prove useful to college faculty and administrators hoping to increase student success and perseverance.