How To Tell Your Parents That You Want To Switch Majors

Welcome to college, the institution of higher learning where some hopeful parents send their children to with the dream of following in their footsteps. These footsteps may lead to an office at a law firm, a hand-me-down private company, or even a doctors’ lab coat.

Regardless of where these steps lead, many parents have high hopes for their children, which is great! But what happens when their dear child realizes after taking lower-division courses that they don’t have the same dreams as mom and dad? How do we, the children, break it to our parents?

I know that my parents have never pushed me in any certain direction, but I can imagine that ruining a parents dream by telling them that you don’t want to carry on the family tradition of going to med-school and being a successful “something”-ologist is equivalent to me telling my uber-conservative parents that I dream of becoming a go-go-dancer.

While I don’t know of any good compromise for my hypothetical dream job as a go-go-dancer, I do believe that college is what we should consider to be the “Micro Land of Opportunity.”

The Land of Opportunity!

In college, we have the opportunity to take any classes we want, learn about countless different career fields and develop our interests, or solidify our disinterests. This is why there are outrageous statistics showing how often students switch their majors before finally settling on one or maybe two…with a minor…or two.

But this is what “opportunity” is all about. It’s about having the ability to try things out and decide what works best for you. If you are completely terrified to tell Mom and Dad that you no longer or maybe never did share in their dream for you to become a cancer-solving doctor, figure out how to compromise with them.


By compromise, I mean figure out what you are interested in but still take enough classes to qualify you for a minor in the field that your parents want you to do, then see if they would settle on letting you major in something that interests you.

If they still aren’t satisfied, entertain them even more by applying for internships both in your dream career field and theirs. But remember, ultimately it is you that is going to have to get yourself a job. Mom and Dad can hope all they want but in the end you are the one that has to get a job. Unless your parents have some major pull somewhere, in which case there might not be any hope for you and you may have to settle for just minoring in something that you’re interested in…just kidding.

Shoot for the stars. College is the only place that you have the opportunity for four years…sometimes five, to dig into the great minds of your professors and learn about what interests you.

It’s Your Life…

Your job is what is going to make up the majority of your life, if you thought that being forced to go to school for the last 15 or so years was grueling, then you better find something you like better than school because you’ll most likely be stuck doing that thing for much longer than 15 years…hopefully.

In the meantime, attempt to compromise with your parents, it really shouldn’t be that bad, you’re probably chalking that conversation up to be way more intense than it actually is. If your parents are supportive of you going to college in the first place they will probably be supportive of whatever you choose to major in. They are most likely proud of the fact that you’re going to college in the first place. Either way I encourage you to definitely attempt to compromise, but also do what you love because this is your life!

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Bryanna Maty

Bryanna Maty

Bryanna Maty is a Senior at the University of California, Davis. After graduating in June she hopes to find or invent a career that will utilize her love for writing, spending money and making people laugh. In her spare time you can find her crafting things off of Pinterest, swimming, line-dancing or watching re-runs of “Friends.”