Switching Majors? Don’t Fret

First-years: having qualms about your major? Uncertain about the future? Don’t fret — you’re not alone. Deciding what to major in is challenging. It can feel like one decision determines the trajectory of your life — which is overwhelming, to say the least.

Funniest_Memes_i-don-t-even-know-what-to-do-with-one-life_15751

Choosing a major that’s right for you boils down to one little formula: find something you’re passionate about but is still sensible.

For instance, one of my friends loves civil liberties, women’s studies, and everything in between. Her major, political science, is both practical and applicable, and it’s something she’s overzealous about. There are hundreds of majors at Ohio State, and I can guarantee there is something for you; it just needs to be discovered.

If you’re unsure where to begin, start by talking to an expert. The Younkin Success Center offers career counseling and consultations.

Although it’s a bit cheesy, also consider consulting a career quiz.

It’s OK to not have everything figured out. There are resources and people to help! Switching majors can seem stressful, specifically when changing from department to department.

When I switched from the College of Food, Agriculture and Environmental Sciences to the College of Engineering, I was a bit dazed with an entirely new schedule and even different class settings and locations. However, there are counselors for that. If you’re thinking about switching, talk to an advisor. They will help you transition smoothly and alleviate a lot of stress.

Finding the best fit isn’t always cut and dry. Remember to focus on finding something that gets you excited. Whether it be science, psychology, business, or anything in between, an awesome major awaits you.

Behind the Title: Academic Advisor

One of the first people first-year students have in their corner is their academic advisor. I sat down with Shannon Peltier, an academic advisor with Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, to learn more about what advisors have to offer and why students should visit them.

What are the most common reasons students visit their advisors?

Most students see us for adding and dropping classes, and for scheduling concerns. Not enough students see us for referrals to other resources.

What resources do advisors offer that more students should utilize?

Really, students can see us for any problem, even if you’re sick for a week and miss class, we can refer you to student advocacy or elsewhere. You can come to us if you’re feeling lost, not feeling right about your major.

Really, it’s anything. If you don’t know who to ask, ask your academic advisor. We can refer you to student legal services, landlord services. We are trained to know Ohio State’s resources—emotionally and academically related—from scheduling, finding your major, interview prep, or any smaller details of your life at Ohio State.

What are some common mistake students make in their first year?

Not dropping classes they should have. As Ohio State becomes more competitive, a lot of students were in the top of their class in high school: they never had to study, never had to ask for help. Some students are too stubborn or don’t realize that dropping is an option. Editor’s note: be aware of your credit hours; dropping below full-time–12 credit hours–could impact your financial aid.

Another mistake, going along with that, is not seeking tutoring resources we have here. Some students see it as a challenge to their sense of self, to ask for help when they might benefit from it.

What would you say to a student considering changing their major?

I’d say, “Why do you want to change? What drew you to the major you have in the first place?” and then we’d look for something similar that might suit your skill sets. I’d have them talk about their long-term goals, where they see themselves in the next five years after graduation, and figure out how to help them get there.

I might also refer them to other advising offices, or to university exploration to help narrow down their choices. Another great resource is the Counseling and Consultation Service, to help with any emotional side to changing a major.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

I’d have to say seeing the moment when the student “gets it”—whatever “it” is. Whether it’s a major or realizing they can start their own student organization, it’s just such a growing moment, an empowering moment for them.

What are some resources on campus that students should utilize more?

Oh, Ohio State has so many resources. I think a mistake some students make is not getting familiar enough with everything Ohio State offers. You’re not just here getting a degree, you’re crafting who you want to be. You have to think about, “where are you going?” and then find what at Ohio State can get you there.

More specifically, the Writing Center is a great tool students should take more advantage of. The Wellness Center is always doing supportive and innovative things. And we’re a research university, and more students could always be involved in undergraduate research. I don’t think some students realize how easy that is.

What is your favorite Ohio State tradition?

It might sound really corny, but the singing of Carmen Ohio on senior day at the football stadium. It’s just really beautiful—the words take on an extra depth.

What else would you like first-year students to know?

I’d like them to know that advisors want you to come see us! The days I hate are the ones with no appointments and no one to talk to. We’re here to help you gain life skills.