I’ve changed my major more times than I would like to admit. Jumping from biochemistry to communication studies to political science to finally settling on government-journalism was a headache. My family has a running joke where every time I visit them back in Southern California. They ask me, “So what are you majoring in now?”
But I don’t regret any of it. Sure I spent more than a year taking classes for degrees I wouldn’t end up pursuing, but I don’t consider it to have been a waste of time.
Writing this blog is giving me flashbacks of the biology labs I had to take, dissecting a number of animals alongside 30 other wide eyed freshmen. I was a vegetarian (and still am) so you could say it was a dark time in my life.
To get back to the point of this blog, it’s not the end of the world to realize you’re in the wrong major. It may feel like you’re world is turning upside down, but the crushing pain will pass. Take it from someone who crumpled into a fetal position in the hallway of the freshmen residence hall, crying on the phone to my best friend back home when I realized my aspirations had changed.
To remind myself why it was ok to change majors and hopefully help others realize it’s ok to dip your toe in the pool of possibility, I’ve formed a list of five reasons to just do it:
1- College isn’t a race to this finish line. The National Student Clearinghouse reported that only about 56% of students will earn a degree within six years. So why is it that people are so adamant about finishing in four?
2- You’re not alone! About 80% of college students in the U.S. change their major at least once, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
3- It’s an expensive piece of paper! Don’t throw money and time into degree you really don’t want. I have a friend who graduated with a history degree and now works as a sous chef. She doesn’t regret studying a subject irrelevant to her career, but if you realize early on in college that you want to change your major— go for it. It’s ok to start over.
4- Internships, internships, internships. Take your time. This falls in line with #1. Along with completing those degree requirements, use the extra semester(s) in college to intern. There are a lot of opportunities for students to intern…mostly because we’re so young, so full of life and so willing to work for free.
5- The things you learn while in one major can be useful in another. When I was a communications major, I took a philosophy class on how to argue effectively. That class became irrelevant when I became a political science major. But now as a journalist, I can easily spot fallacious arguments in articles.
Four majors later and I finally found my purpose. Now what’s yours? If you find yourself questioning your major, don’t be afraid to consider other options. You will never know unless you take a chance.