How I Knew My College Major Wasn’t the Right One for Me

Prior to entering my first year of college, I wasn’t sure what I wanted my major to be. I had just finished taking a high school psychology class, and I was very fascinated by what I learned in it. Throughout high school, friends constantly confided in me and asked for advice. I also realized that I had a passion for reaching out to others in need. Putting all of these aspects together, I came to the conclusion that I should major in the field of psychology.

Right before my very first college classes started, the early childhood education major was brought to my attention. Being a teacher had previously interested me, but I thought that field was only limited to teaching grades kindergarten through high school. The thought of grading students and filling out report cards horrified me, which is the main reason why I held back. When I found out that daycares and preschools required teaching degrees, I was more intrigued. Not having to grade students was also a plus. I found that my love for being around small children overpowered my interest in learning about the human mind and its behaviors. I instantly changed my major to early childhood education.

During my early childhood education career, I was exposed to many environments involving children: I worked for an after school program at my former elementary school with students in grades kindergarten through sixth grade, and a private in-home daycare with infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. I also observed at various daycares and schools through my college classes. These all made an impact on my feelings about being an early childhood education major and opened my eyes to different aspects of being a teacher that I had never experienced before. I loved interacting with children, but it never occurred to me that I would also be interacting with their parents. This intimidated me, and I didn’t think I would be able to do it.

About a year and a half into my college career, my interest in being an early childhood education major slowly declined. I began to show up late to classes constantly, and I even went as far to skip classes, which is something that I never did prior to attending college. Working for the after school program, in-home daycare, and observing daycares and preschools no longer became enjoyable. I still had another year and a half before I would graduate and receive my associate’s degree. Rather than completely giving up on early childhood education altogether, I continued on with my schooling and eventually graduated. I knew that maybe someday, I could pick a different major and do something I truly enjoyed.

Once I received my associate’s degree in early childhood education, the next thing I asked myself was:

What am I going to do now?

At the time, I was living with my parents and working a minimum wage job. I really wanted to move out and be on my own. I was faced with another fork in the road: Should I move out and continue to work, or should I transfer to another college so I can move out of my house and further my education? I chose the latter, and to this day, I couldn’t be any happier with my decision.

For anyone who is trying to decide what they want their major to be, ask yourself these questions:

What are my passions? Do I see myself having a career with any of them, or are they just hobbies?

Since I was a child, I have always had a passion for writing. When I was contemplating college majors in high school, the thought of being a writer crossed my mind. However, I only saw writing as something that I enjoyed as a hobby and didn’t think I would like doing as a career. Interestingly enough, after three years of being an early childhood education major, I realized that being an English writing major was the right choice for me. Don’t get me wrong, my journey through this major hasn’t exactly been stress-free. In fact, I feel like it’s been the most stressful part of college for me. Regardless, I don’t see myself doing anything else.

Although I have an associate’s degree in early childhood education that I am currently not putting to use, I don’t consider it a complete waste. A lot of the information I learned through classes, observations, and jobs has taught me a lot about how to interact with children that will be vital when I become a parent someday. I have even thought of possibly putting that degree to use later on in life after having experience being a parent. At that point, I’ll have more understanding of what it’s like raising children so that interacting with other parents won’t be as daunting.

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Britni Roberts

Britni Roberts

Britni Roberts is a senior at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois pursuing a degree in English Writing. She has been an Editor for the North Central Kindling humor magazine, Assistant News and Arts Editor for the North Central Chronicle newspaper, as well as a DJ and Rock News Reporter for WONC-FM 89.1, her college’s radio station. She enjoys listening to music and spending time with her friends, boyfriend, and his cat Willow.

3 Responses to “How I Knew My College Major Wasn’t the Right One for Me”

  • Ashlyn Porter

    Ashlyn Porter on August 14, 2013

    This article is very informative. I can completely relate to changing majors after realizing your first choice wasn’t right for you. I began my college career as a sociology major because I fell in love with the subject in high school. but I always knew that theater was where my heart and passion really were. It wasn’t until my sophomore year that I decided to be honest with myself and major in theater. The decision was definitely great for me and I haven’t looked back since. I decided to keep sociology as my minor. I agree that you have to follow your passion in order to truly be happy with what you decide to study in college. Great post!

  • Ashley Yang

    Ashley Yang on August 18, 2013

    Choosing a college major and deciding whether or not to stick with it is very stressful, and you depicted that process so truthfully. While I have not switched majors, there have been times where I’ve had doubts. I think its great that you stuck with early childhood education long enough to get your associate’s degree, because it definitely isn’t a waste! It might come in handy someday and tie in with your writing! But it was also wise of you to pursue the major that you are actually interested in, rather than staying with something you know you did not really want to do just because you had already come so far.

  • Megan Heneghan

    Megan Heneghan on August 18, 2013

    This is an extremely interesting article. Sometimes it takes multiple tries for a student to find their niche in college. I know multiple people who have transferred schools for different reasons (majors, bad coaches, location), and have found happiness at other campuses. One should never feel guilty for wanting to leave their first choice for college. Changing majors is so common at a university, and finding the right one for you is of the utmost importance. Awesome article :)

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