Did you begin your first year thinking you had the perfect major and career figured out? Did you take a random class that you ended up loving, or take a class you thought you would love and it ended up not really working out? Do not panic! We have all had at least one moment in college where we freeze, have a mini panic attack, and think, “what I am I doing with my life.” Whether it just lasts a minute or a semester, these moments are a great way to help you step back and ask yourself, “Am I happy with my major and the path my future is on?”
When I first stepped into SPHHRNG 2230: Introduction to Communication and Its Disorders, I thought, “Yes, this going to be amazing! I am going to be able to help so many kids, I cannot wait to be a speech pathologist!” Fast forward six weeks into the class and my thought process was not exactly the same. Though I had never had a specific class or experience that immediately turned me away from the field, I did have an extremely strong gut feeling that this path was just not meant for me.
In that same semester, I took PSYCH 1100: Introduction to Psychology for the sole purpose of receiving general education credit. However, as the class progressed I started realizing how much I was enjoying it. I noticed I was more excited to read my psychology textbook than my book for speech and hearing science. When I realized I wanted to switch my major to psychology, I did not go into their office and switch my major the next day. I finished out my speech and hearing science class and started to take some steps that helped me confirm that psychology was going to be the right major for me.
Here are four things that helped me with my decision to switch majors:
Talk to Someone
Whether it is your academic advisor, RA, Hall Director, parents, mentor, coach, etc., talk to someone about how you are feeling. No one is going to blame you for questioning your options (that is what college is for). If you are genuinely unhappy in your major or classes, let someone know; let them what you do not like about the path you are currently on and where you would like to see yourself end up. There are people here to help you find out what you want to do and how to point you in the right direction to get back on track.
Use Your Resources
There are so many resources on campus that are here to help you decide on what is best for you! The Younkin Success Center offers career counseling that is personalized to your interests and gives individualized sessions. Additionally, every college on campus has some sort of career services outlet can help to students find out what they want to do with their life after college.
Set up a meeting with your academic advisor or with one in the major you are considering. They can tell you more about the major and everything you can do with it. Two awesome things about talking with academic advisors:
- They can connect you with students who are currently in the major to get their perspective
- They know so many more things you can do with the major that you may have never known existed
Research, Research, Research!
Look into all the areas in which you are interested. Find out what you can do with a degree in food science or anthropology. Be adventurous! Look up facts and articles about what is currently going on in the field and see if it is something you could see yourself doing one day. You will never know if it could be something your passionate about until you look!
Ask Yourself, Are YOU Happy?
Your major is going to set you up on a path that will direct the rest of your future. Are you going to be happy being an engineer, teacher, doctor, nutritionist, etc. for the next 25+ years? Is it going to fulfill your life and passions, besides just filling your bank account? It is a decision that is entirely yours to make! Do not let family, friends, or society pressure you into a decision they think is best. You are the most important part of this equation. If you are happy and passionate about what you want to do, then pursue it!
Through talking to LOTS of people, researching different careers I could do with psychology, utilizing my academic advisor and the psychology department, and some self-reflection, I knew that switching my major was the thing to do. All of the things I did reassured me that majoring in psychology was going to put in the right direction even if I did not have every piece of the puzzle figured out just yet.
Breathe. Trust me, more people end up switching their major then what you realize. It is completely 100% okay to do. If you think switching your major is the thing to do, then do it! College is the time to explore your options and figure out what you want to spend the rest of your life doing.