When you are 17 years old, a junior in high school and looking at colleges, one of the deciding factors will likely be if that college has a good program in the field you want to study. The only trouble with that is that you have to know what you want to do with the rest of your life at age 17. That’s tough.
During my undergraduate experience I have switched my major and minor multiple times:
#1 – Music major with a minor in education.
#2 – English major with a minor in education.
#3 – English major with a minor in organizational communication.
#4 – I finally settled on a Print Journalism major with a minor in graphic design at the beginning of my junior year, and I am still graduating early!
My decision to change my major happened quite quickly. I had been finding myself increasingly disinterested in the field of education for sometime, but in denial, I credited that to the particular classes that I was in. Then one night during Winter break my sophomore year, something just clicked. I knew that I would never be as happy teaching music as I always had been performing it. I knew suddenly that music education was no longer the right choice for me and it was time to make a change.
So, I went with my gut and decided to switch things up, which was by no means a simple task for me. I have never been a huge fan of change or spontaneity, but I had to picture my life in the long-term and things simply were not matching up. When I first started school, I could not have been happier with my choice of major, but as I spent more and more time totally immersed in the program I found that I was not as happy as I thought I would be.
Once I made the decision to switch I was so much more at ease and I found that the change of pace was just what I needed.
Here are the top 3 things I learned from changing my major:
1. Don’t let yourself get stuck.
While this seems simple, it is important to keep in mind. Sometimes you get stuck in a rut and convince yourself that what you’re doing is right. It is important to keep in mind that if something feels wrong or uncomfortable, it probably is. It is perfectly fine to realize that your major no longer fits in with your skills and interests.
2. Changing your major will not hurt your chances of graduating.
In fact, a study done by Ted Micceri out of the University of South Florida found that students who change their major actually increase their chances of graduating. According to the study, changing your major at least once doubles your chances at graduating while having no significant impact on your time of graduation.
As always, you should take your time to plan and speak to your advisors about your class schedule. As long as you do that, you should be just fine.
3. Change is good!
When you immerse yourself in a new environment, it makes you realize new things about yourself. These realizations should be embraced! If, after a few months at school you realize that you only liked doing a particular activity in high school because thats what your friends did and its not really what you want to do anymore, then switch it up! Now is the time to change your mind again, and again, and again, until you find exactly what you are looking for.
Amber Bray is a senior at North Central College studying journalism and graphic design. Apart from her classes Amber writes a relationship advice column, along with other pieces, for the North Central Chronicle. She also writes and designs for North Central’s online magazine, The Viewfinder. Amber is a trivia fanatic and in her free time she enjoys board games, reading and writing fiction, and spending time with friends and family.