How I Figured Out I Had The Wrong Major

I began college as a pre-med student with a concentration in psychology. Looking back on it, my main motivation for starting down that path was the idea I had that there was absolutely no money in writing (which is what I truly enjoyed). Beyond that, I wanted to help people and that’s what doctors do, right? It was a perfect fit for me career-wise.

Or so I tried to convince myself.

So I went through my first semester of classes, struggling from the start with the one and only science course I’d signed up for. It soon became clear that not only did I have absolutely no talent for the sciences, but no interest in them, either.

But instead of exploring my options and changing my major, I convinced myself that if I could just get the hang of chemistry, everything else would fall into place and I’d be the greatest doctor anybody had ever seen.

That’s not at all what happened.

I ended up having to drop the class because I was beyond passing. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t make myself care about chemical formulas and elements and what reacted with what. I did my homework and paid attention in class, but none of it stuck or even made sense.

My writing class, though? I was passing with flying colors.

At the end of my freshman year, I dropped the pre-med portion of my studies and focused on psychology. I told myself that if medicine wasn’t for me, I could still be a psychologist and help people that way.

While I could definitely understand the course material and was actually interested in what the professors were saying, there was still something missing. When my friends and family asked me why I chose psychology, I could find no other reason than because I want to help people and “there’s no money in writing.”

Then one Saturday night in the middle of my junior year, a conversation with my parents turned to my plans for the future.

With my rehearsed shrug, I told them how I planned to work toward my Ph.D. in psychology and one day become a psychologist for the same reasons I told everyone else.

Thankfully, my mom saw past my story and asked me, “If you won the lottery tomorrow and never had to worry about making money again, what would you want to go into?”

“Writing” was the first thing out of my mouth.

Then she told me this:

Let’s say you live 100 years. You’ll spend about a quarter of it in school, depending on which field you want to go into. Whatever you decide to study, that’s what you’ll spend about 45 years of your life doing. That’s half of your life. If you’re going to be spending that long on something, don’t you want to make sure you like it?

She was right. So that night I made my decision: I was going to be a writing major.

At that moment, any plans I had for the foreseeable future had been catapulted out the window. And honestly? I couldn’t have been more excited.

The moral of this story is that it’s OK to change your major. It’s more common than you’d think.

However, that doesn’t mean you should take the decision lightly. Talk to your parents and academic advisor before you make any big changes.

In the end, though, I truly believe you should do what you’ll enjoy and will make you happy. Plus, if you’re reading this, there is a good chance you’re in your freshman or sophomore year of college (or even your senior of high school if you’re ambitious).

You’ve still got plenty of time to decide. Just look at me: I was ajunior when I switched and everything’s worked out. There’s hope for you yet.

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Ana Koulouris

Ana Koulouris

Ana Koulouris is a senior at Benedictine University in Illinois pursuing a degree in writing and publishing. When she is not at work in the Office of Admissions or on the university's newspaper, she can be found writing short stories, reading anything and everything, and spending time with family and friends.

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