Taking Back Your Time: How to Manage Your Time in Your First Semester

Hey everyone! 

 As the beginning of your first year at Ohio State starts to come around in full swing, everything might start to feel very overwhelming. This rang true for me, as my first year didn’t result in academic success. I think the main reason behind my failure to succeed in my major (Zoology/Pre-Medicine) was that I did not manage my time well AT ALL. I had no system to keep track of my events and homework, and I didn’t make a responsible schedule for myself that balanced my free-time and what should have been study time. After finally making a thorough schedule the summer before my second-year, I realized how important it is to stay organized and manage the time I have responsibly. I can’t imagine what I’d be doing now without one. Below are some quick Why’s and How’s of organizing a busy schedule. 

 Why? 

I used to think that I wasn’t the type of person who benefited from a planner (or note-taking for that matter) but as the year rolled around, I quickly became overwhelmed in a futile attempt to keep up with everything. The fact of the matter is, you can’t remember everything on your own. In college, your schedule is almost entirely up to you and having some sort of event-organizing device is simply crucial to keeping sanity AND a balanced scheduled.     

 How? 

Okay, I might sound like a broken record, so how do you go about this practically? For those of you who’ve never needed to use a calendar or planner, it might be hard to start (it was for me). These are some ideas that might work for you: 

 Online Calendars: 

Google Calendar, iCloud Calendar, and Outlook Calendar are all great examples of free online calendars. This my personal first choice (I love Google Calendar). This offers an easy and simple way to color-code, have high accessibility (your phone is probably always on you), and I personally think it’s the least tedious option. Here’s an example of what one of my weeks looks like in Google Calendar: 

 

Physical Planner:  

For some, this is the best choice. Having a planner you can customize and hand-write in is a very appealing option (some studies show that handwriting improves memory). The only stipulation about these is that the nicer versions cost money, you have to write, and you’re not always going to have it.

 At the very least, a reminders app: 

Just having something to jot down quick reminders will improve your quality of life tenfold. 

I hope these few quick tips help get your first year off in an organized way!

 

Build a Better Body Image

Winter Blues

From being cooped up inside all of the time and practically living inside your parka, it is easy to feel the blues–especially when it comes to body image. Negative self-talk can be prominent in these winter months, especially as we approach spring break. I have heard all types of conversations in the dining halls, with the most popular tagline being,

I can’t eat this cookie because of my spring break bod.

I see people I know picking out parts of their bodies they do not like, exercising extreme amounts, and fantasizing over the sculpted and tan bodies of celebrities in magazines and on TV. With half of semester under your belt, I wanted to pose this question: How do you feel about yourself?

The real truth

It is easy to feel like you are the only one suffering from poor body image, but it is more prevalent than you thought–especially on college campuses. Here are some statistics from a body image campaign through dosomething.org:

  • About 91% of women are unhappy with their bodies and resort to measures to achieve the body size they desire
  • Only 5% of women are naturally born with the body type portrayed in media
  • Men feel just as pressured by media and can feel inadequate about their bodies

Steps you can take today to have a better body image

The National Eating Disorders Association website has many resources on how to develop a better self-body image. Here are a few steps that you can take today to feel better about yourself:

  1. View yourself as a whole person. You are one complete individual, not just separate parts. Refrain from picking out certain parts of your body and realize that you are one cohesive unit.
  2. Find joy in all that you can do, from having the best laugh, scoring an A on your last chemistry midterm, or being a good friend. Think about the areas where you shine and make others and yourself happy.
  3. Surround yourself with people who make you happy. Being around people who are negative can really bring you down. Take action and be with people who boost your mood and lift you up.
  4. Be critical of social media. Just by scrolling through Instagram, you might think that some of your followers have perfect lives based on their social media photos. Realize that people don’t typically post about their bad days, and that photos can often be distorted. Magazines and TV shows can also display perfection and distortion of real life. Interested in learning more about the feelings behind social media? Read a great blog post.
  5. Write down things you love about yourself on Post-it notes and stick them on your mirror or computer for a daily reminder that you have so much to offer.
  6. Wear clothes that you feel comfortable and happy in. Wear your favorite color, or those shoes you feel amazing in.
  7. Always remember that there is something to be thankful for–whether that is being a Buckeye, having supportive friends, and the opportunity to attend such a great university!

Resources for you

Be sure to know when it is important to work with a professional. Here are some campus resources if you would like to seek additional information and help.

Bad Grade? Bounce Back in 5 Steps!

Now that the first round of midterms is almost over, you’ve probably started to get your first midterm grades back. If you didn’t do as well as you expected on an exam, don’t be discouraged! Taking college exams is not an easy task, especially if you’ve never taken one before. Now that you are more familiar of how an actual college exam works, let’s take some time to reflect on how you can improve the next time around!

Here are some tips that I have found helpful after getting a disappointing grade on a midterm.

Talk to your instructor

Stop by office hours and go over your exam with the instructor. This is really helpful because you’ll be able to go over your mistakes and find out why your answers were incorrect. Make sure to ask questions and always ask to clarify a topic that you do not completely understand. Your professors are always willing to give you guidance on how to approach their class, so don’t be afraid to reach out to them!

Develop new study habits

In high school, you may not have studied much for midterms. In college, studying may require hours at Thompson Library, memorizing pages of notes and study guides. This is not always the most effective way to study the material. In my time as a college student, I’ve learned that it’s not about how long you study, but rather how well you study. The Dennis Learning Center in the Younkin Success Center has several student resources for effective study skills. You can also attend Use Your Brain! Memory Tools for Effective Studying (register through the First Year Success Series) if you want to learn a new way to study!

Make use of the resources on campus

Ohio State has so many resources on campus. The university wants its students to succeed above and beyond and it is only fitting that we use these resources to our advantage. Check out these campus tutoring centers (if you haven’t already) for help with subjects that many students study in their first year.

Campus Tutoring

Hold yourself accountable

Too often we place the blame on the professor with a different accent, or on our friends for distracting us, but we need to be the one to take responsibility for the disappointing grade. Placing the blame on someone or something else is counterproductive because then you will never be able to recognize how you can do better in the future! If you do get a bad grade, it’s okay to be upset about it, but then try to find ways to improve yourself. The best way to deal with a bad grade is to put in the effort to do things differently and to strive even harder the next time for the grade you feel like you deserve.

Stay motivated

Getting your first bad grade on an exam can make you rethink a lot of things in life: your major, your career choice, and maybe even your time here at Ohio State. Don’t fret! Everyone struggles with staying motivated at one time or another…I know I still do! Just know that we can get through this together! I found this article about staying motivated in college to be helpful.

The most successful students are the ones who ask for help when they need it! Don’t be afraid to ask for help and support, whether it’s from your professor, your TA, your RA or even your Peer Leader. Just know that together, we are all here to help you pave your path to success! Stay positive, work hard and make it happen!

Behind the Organization: The Student Wellness Center

One of the most easily confused and under-utilized resources on campus is the Student Wellness Center, on the main floor of the RPAC. This center may seem small from the outside, but it houses many offices, countless resources and is supported by over 200 peer volunteers.

I sat down with Blake Marble, one of the assistant directors, and Todd Gibbs, the Wellness Coaching program coordinator, to learn more about what the Student Wellness Center has to offer and why students should access its many resources.

Part I: The Wellness Center

For those who are unfamiliar with the Student Wellness Center, can you explain what exactly this center is and does for students?

Blake: “The Student Wellness Center works to educate students about wellness topics and wellness issues. We focus on education, prevention and raising awareness. We are oftentimes confused with Student Health Services. We don’t provide any clinical, medical care or anything like that; we focus on the education piece.

“One of the main things to know about our office is that we are very student-driven. A lot of our one-on-one services are facilitated by students, so it’s students helping students, and that’s one of the main pieces we focus on here because we want to give our students the opportunity to develop those skills to help each other.”

What are the most common reasons students visit the Student Wellness Center?

Blake: “I think there are three main reasons students come to the Student Wellness Center:

1. One is for the excellent one-on-one services we provide students, the personal one-on-one conversation.

2. (Another reason) is for our workshops and presentations; we give over 150 educational workshops each semester.

3. Lastly, to get involved. We have over 200 students who are trained to volunteer in a variety of different ways at the Wellness Center — in all of our one-on-one services (Scarlet And Grey Financial, Nutrition Coaching, alcohol and other drug one-on-one educational sessions, HIV/STI testing, and Wellness Coaching).”

What kinds of programs do student volunteers help with?

Blake: “Every single one of (these programs) has a peer education component to them. We have students who are trained to facilitate all of those one-on-one conversations with students. Students are also involved in giving those presentations to a variety of groups and organizations across campus.

“All volunteers go through extensive training about other resources outside of the Student Wellness Center, to help refer students to outside resources if needed.”

What are your numbers of students and staff?

Blake: “We have around 10-11 full-time staff members, with program coordinators all specializing in different areas and a tad over 200 student volunteers (some graduate level, majority undergraduate level).”

*Interested students who have a passion for helping others can become trained volunteers at the Wellness Center. Often, students in Fisher who desire to one day become financial advisors get involved in Scarlet And Grey Financial Services, and many Public Health students look to become Wellness Coaches. However, the Wellness Center eagerly accepts students from any background or major! If you have a passion for helping others, consider the incredible opportunity! Interested in getting involved? Get started here!

What resources does the Student Wellness Center offer that more students should utilize?

Blake: “Every single one of them. There’s so many here, and I’ll say the one thing that I tell students in every workshop and conversation that I have with them: ‘You’re at a point in your life as an Ohio State student that you have more resources available to you free of charge than you probably will again in your life, and odds are you can walk to just about all of them within about 10 minutes. So no matter what it is that you want to work on within your own personal life – there’s someone here to help you, so use those resources.”

“We see thousands of students every year for one-on-one sessions but we always want more students to come.”

Are there any new programs students should know about?

“I would say one of the newest programs that we have that has really taken off over the past year or so is our Wellness Coaching program. But it’s basically a strengths-based approach to wellness. So it’s a one-on-one coaching session where students can come in wellness coaching regarding anything, any types of issues that they’re having, any obstacles they have in their life… (Wellness Coaching) has a strength-based component to it; you take a strengths finder before you come in, and then use those strengths to then meet your goals in life — to really maximize your potential.”

*The Wellness Center partners with all student life programs including CCS, Student Health Services, refer back and forth based on how to best meet the needs of the students coming in.

What are some common challenges students face in their first year? 

Blake: “I immediately think about the transition from high school to college. But with that come many challenges relating to personal wellbeing or personal wellness. Some of the things that I automatically think of are stress and time management, and these things affect your emotional wellness and stuff like that. There are so many changes and decisions your first year that it comes down to prioritizing the things in your life and not letting it overwhelm you at times.

“A lot of it too is finding that social support system around you. I think a lot of students come from high school and are challenged with coming to such a big place and finding that support group within Ohio State and it can be kind of overwhelming at times. So a lot of it is that social-emotional aspect of it and finding where you fit in and understanding that college is a place to explore different things, get involved in different areas, but also being strategic about that.”

What would you say to a student who’s going through some of those transitional issues and is perhaps hesitant about addressing those problems?

Blake: “We all face challenges on a daily basis, it matter of how we approach those challenges and the way that we view things in our lives and put things in perspective. But one of the things I tell students on a daily basis, no matter what it is or what they’re working on or what they’re challenged with, just utilize the resources that are available to you. Whether that’s the Student Health Center, FYE, counseling (CCS), anything on campus, just utilize the resources that are available to you. All of our students and staff are trained in resources outside of our office so if maybe we can’t answer all the questions or maybe we’re not the people that are trained to help you in one specific area but we can connect you to the people and resources that are.”

What would you say is the program area that students access the most?

Blake: “Honestly, the most foot traffic we probably get on a weekly basis is Condom Club. It’s quick, easy, accessible, and one of our resources that student utilize the most.”

“Some people think that’s all we do (laughing). It’s a struggle at times but it gets them through the door and they then learn about all the other things that we do.”

For students who may be apprehensive about asking for help, how can they take that first step?

  • Email
  • Schedule appointment online
  • Connect through peers

Blake: “Research has shown that students feel more comfortable talking to other students about different things that they’re dealing with in their lives and that’s been one of the reasons that we have so many students that go through extensive training on this, but we also do have experts in each of these areas that help reach out to those students if needed.”

“There’s a lot of stigmas associated with wellness issues, and we’re trying to break down those walls on a daily basis and we’re trying to approach things from a different perspective that might help reduce those stigmas a little bit.”

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

Blake: “We’re here to help, I just want students to know that. And everything we do is free too, everything is free of charge. You pay for it in your student fees, but nothing that we do cost money, so we want students to really utilize these resources.”

Appointments: After you reach out to make an appointment, most appointments are 45 minutes to an hour long.

Blake: “We usually can see students within a week or so (of their initial call) for their session — so it’s a pretty quick turn around.”

Some services do have some pre-appointment components for students to fill out prior to an appointment:

Part II. Wellness Coaching

Nutrition Coaching, Financial Coaching… but what really is Wellness Coaching?

Wellness Coaching is one of many services available through the Wellness Center. However, Wellness Coaching specifically focuses on the nine different dimensions of wellness using a strengths-based model. 

Todd: “We think that challenges are just part of being human. So if people can identify their strengths and start to use them to move toward the goals they have for their wellness, then lots of good things can happen. That’s what we do.”

Coaching vs. Counseling

Todd: “Our coaches are largely peers rather than medical professionals.”

Counseling: Uses medical model: diagnose the problem then treat it.

Coaching: Uses strengths and positive psychology to look at what’s going right with people, not what’s going wrong

What are the top wellness areas (out of the nine dimensions of wellness) that students seek help through wellness coaching?

Blake: “Two of the top areas that students want to focus on more are social wellness and emotional wellness.”

 Q: Why do students typically face emotional wellness concerns? 

A: Stresses of finding a major or making life decisions.

Todd: “I think that you can feel (stressed, overwhelmed, anxious) if you don’t know that you’re capable of navigating through those transitions. It can pose a real threat.”

“I think that’s what’s at the core of the coaching, helping people see that ‘Oh I am someone that can make the decisions for my life and who knows what I really care about and value so I can find my way through that, so now I don’t get quite as stressed or as anxious when I run into those things in the future.’”

Attempting to be well in all nine dimensions can be overwhelming:

Todd: “When you improve your wellness in any area, it improves your wellness overall … If it matters to you and you invest in your wellness in that area, it is going to have nothing but benefits for you in that area, whether it’s something you are already strong in, or an area where you think you need more improvement.”

More information:

Student Wellness Center Hours:

Monday-Thursday 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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.

6 Themes Not to Miss This Semester

If you’re like us in First Year Experience, you love a good theme. Themes can take an experience from basic to amazing, and that’s why the First Year Success Series has six themes to help you have the best first semester ever. Here’s some insight into each of these themes; hopefully you will see some experiences not to be missed!

Theme #1: Academic Engagement and Career Exploration

To stay at Ohio State, you will need to be successful inside the classroom. College requires you to study smarter, learn faster, and think more critically. Once you have gotten the hang of that, you may also want to think about requirements for graduate school, internships in your field of study, or research with a faculty member. Mastering the content in this theme area grants you the opportunity to continue to explore the rest of the collegiate experience–like Welcome Week.

2014 sessions to consider:

  • A+ Research: Where Do You Start?
  • Is Your Major ‘The One’
  • Where’s Woody? Find Woody Hayes in Thompson Library
  • Study Smarter! Memory Tools for Effective Studying

Theme #2: Diversity and Global Awareness

Ohio State is pretty big–over 7,000 new students started here this fall, contributing to a total population of more than 50,000 students. With a community this size, we have people representing many cultures, genders, races, languages, sexual orientations, religions, nationalities, and experiences. Appreciating diversity means more than trying different foods or taking O-H-I-O pictures on a study abroad trip (although those are cool things that you definitely should do). Being a a member of the Buckeye family means learning about different people so that we can all advocate for each other and celebrate our differences. Sessions in this theme will help you begin to explore new cultures and issues, think about studying abroad, and connecting with others who share your identity.

2014 sessions to consider:

  • Take a Stand: A Guide to Learning about Yourself & Peers
  • Study Abroad Expo
  • How to be an Ally
  • International Coffee Hour

Theme #3: Finances

Few things are worse than getting to the end of your college experience and realizing you made poor financial decisions which will follow you long after your time at Ohio State is over. What can you do to stretch your dollar and be smart about how you plan your budget for the next fours years? Go to sessions in this theme to make smart decisions about financing your time at Ohio State.

2014 sessions to consider:

  • LANDLORDS, LEASING & LOTS MORE: Get the 43201 about Moving Off-Campus!
  • Personal Finance 101
  • Budgeting Workshop
  • Extreme Couponing

Theme #4: Health and Wellness

With all of the work you’ll do to succeed in the classroom and all of the energy you’ll put into making friends and getting involved, it’s important for you to find ways to take care of yourself; that may include eating healthy, making smart social choices, or hitting the gym. There are actually nine dimensions of wellness for you to think about as a student. Sessions in this theme will help you consider how you are taking care of yourself in each dimension to live a healthy lifestyle during your time at Ohio State.

2014 sessions to consider:

  • Party Smart
  • Counting Sheep: How Sleep Impacts Your Success
  • The Right Bite on a College Campus
  • Double Dare

Theme #5: Leadership and Civic Engagement

Were you overwhelmed by all of the opportunities you saw at the Involvement Fair or during Community Commitment? Everyone has told you to get involved, but what will that look like for you? You may want to go to sessions in this theme to think about what your leadership skills and styles look like. Then, you can think about what kinds of issues on campus or in the community matter to you, and commit yourself to those opportunities.

2014 sessions to consider:

  • Your Buckeye Leadership Plan
  • Service in Your First Year Experience
  • Becoming a Nut
  • How to Avoid Poverty Tourism

Theme #6: Buckeye Book Community

All members of the class of 2018 read The Glass Castle this summer…what a great conversation starter at a table in Kennedy Commons! Maybe you and your newfound friend will decide to attend one of the many Success Series sessions where you will have the chance to talk about the themes of the book. The book’s author, Jeannette Walls, comes to campus on September 23!

2014 sessions to consider:

  • An Evening with Jeannette Walls
  • A Different Look at The Glass Castle
  • Pastries and Perspective: The Glass Castle
  • What’s in a question? Research questions and The Glass Castle

Are you ready to check out these themes? Visit go.osu.edu/FYSS and register for your Peer Leader workshop before September 12 to learn more about the First Year Success Series from upperclass students!

29 Bits of Wisdom For Your First Year

Before you move onto campus in about a month, think about what you want out of your Ohio State experience and let these bits of wisdom help you create an amazing first year.

1. Never let Facebook be the ultimate judge of someone’s character | Do not believe everything you see. Just because someone lives (or posts) differently than you does not mean he or she will be a bad person.

2. Sleep is so, so good | It’s important to take care of yourself. All-nighters will not help you pass an exam because in reality, the majority of the time you will be too tired to think straight.

3. Focus on being a good roommate, not a best friend | Concern yourself with being a considerate roommate and don’t expect to be his or her best friend. You can still be good roommates and have a great living experience together if you’re simply respectful and courteous.

4. Communicate | With roommates this is especially important. Nothing will ever get resolved unless you have honest and open discussions.

5. Get to know your professors | They are here to help you learn and grow. Talk to them and ask for help.

6. Don’t do laundry on Sunday night | Try selecting a different day and time when more machines are available.

7. Bring an umbrella.

8. Ask for help | There are so many people at Ohio State that want to make your experience amazing. Help is available, just ask!

9. Be yourself! | Why be someone else when you can be you?

10. Surround yourself with great people that will push you to your best, celebrate you, and pick you up when you are down.

11. Call home.

12. Wash your bedding/sheets and blankets.

13. Meet new people | People want to make friends but are often too scared to make the effort.

14. Keep your Facebook appropriate | It’s the world wide web, y’all.

15. Don’t leave your belongings unattended | They may not be there when you return.

16. Let yourself be a first year student | Your first year of college will be amazing and full of fun programs, just for you.

17. Take pictures.

18. Be smart with money | Create a plan and stick to it! The Wellness Center in the RPAC can help you!

19. Stay healthy | Watch what you eat and go to the gym (great stress relief, too!).

20. Reflect daily | Make sure you are making an effort to stay on track with physical, mental and emotional health. Do not let a breakdown be your first indicator.

21. Do not let stereotypes decide your feelings about people | People will surprise you in both good ways and bad.

22. Take time to be alone | You will need the time to decompress and chill.

23. It is okay to go to a dining hall and eat alone.

24. Cheer for the Buckeyes | Whether in athletics, residence halls, or our classes – be there to support your team and your entire community. We are all in this together.

25. Check your syllabi | Keep track of your assignments because your professors will not always remind you about them.

26. Get an agenda/planner/calendar | It will help you keep track of your life and help you manage your time.

27. Be silly | Get out there and be awesome! Order pancakes, chicken fingers, and a milkshake at Sloopy’s every so often, talk to the people in your class, and dance like there is no tomorrow!

28. “Don’t be scared to walk alone, don’t be scared to like it” | This lovely lyric from John Mayer speaks volumes. You are more independent at college and have the opportunity to do what makes you happy and study what interests you. Be your own person and don’t be afraid of the changes you will make in your life (for the better of course).

29. You decide your experience | Make wise choices and be all that you want to be. Don’t wait for something amazing to happen to you, go make it happen yourself.

Stay tuned for July 14 when Brandon will write about 31 Ways Your First Year is Like Your Favorite Flavor of Ice Cream!

So You’re Thinking About Switching Your Major?

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.