In college, you have many important life changing decisions to make. One of the scariest decisions is answering the nerve-wracking question, “what on Earth am I going to do for the rest of my life?” Attempting to find an answer, you choose a major hoping it will become your life passion and also pay the bills. However, trying out what seems like a random major and hoping it will lead to a lifetime of happiness can lead to endless hours of despair, sleepless nights of self-doubt and countless days spent alone crying. The good news is that you don’t have to stick with a major if it makes you miserable. You can always change it to something new. Here are ten signs that you should change your major. I interviewed five current Gannon students who changed majors at some time in their college career and shared some of their personal stories.
- You were interested in a different career since a young age.
Sometimes the best major is something you were interested in since you were little. This appeared to be true for senior Stephen Haywiser. During his sophomore year, Haywiser switched his major from engineering to computer science. He stated, “I’ve always liked computers. I loved figuring out how they work, and I also love video game consoles and controllers and how they work.” Currently, Haywiser is perfectly content with learning about computers, computers, and more computers.
- You can’t picture yourself in your field of study.
Haywiser often tried to picture himself as an engineer and could not. When asked if he could give any advice to someone who wants to change his or her major, he said “Try to picture yourself in the future, and see if you want to do this job in the real world.” If you cannot, it’s probably time to switch.
- Field work isn’t fun for you.
Many departments, including Education and Health Sciences, have field work. This is when students go out and experience everything they learn about in the classroom in the real world. Junior education major Nick Erbland, former nursing major, learned that nursing is not what he wanted to do with the rest of his life. He said, “The first time I switched from education to nursing, I was afraid of the teaching job market, so I went to a major that seemed more secure. Once I got out in the field, I decided I didn’t want to do it for the rest of my life. I am much more confident about where I am after experiencing something else.” Keep in mind, what you experience in field work is what you are likely to experience for the rest of your life.
- Your major isn’t challenging you
When junior Emma Oros was an English major, she found her major boring and easy. She said, “I would come home and cry because I had nothing to do. At one point, I watched all nine seasons of How I Met Your Mother in three weeks.” Sticking with something that makes you cry is simply not worth it.
- You think your professor is nuts for being passionate about his/her field.
When he was a Nursing major, Erbland never experienced the thrill of changing adult diapers. He said, “A six hour lecture about bed making or changing an adult diaper just didn’t interest me. It interested everyone around me though.” If you question why people devote their lives to your major, that’s an indication that you’re not feeling passionate about this field.
- You don’t understand what’s happening in class
Imagine you are in a class and your professor is speaking gibberish. If you experienced this, you are not alone. This was the daily life of junior Early Childhood/Special Education major Nathan Demarest when he was a philosophy major. Demarest said, “I remember sitting in one of the higher level philosophy classes. I was just sitting there thinking, ‘What am I doing here?’ (and not in a philosophical way). I just realized that philosophy wasn’t my passion. I didn’t know what I wanted to change to, but I just couldn’t do philosophy. Eventually, I met someone who went for early childhood special education and thought, ‘Wow that’s cool,” and it resonated with me. So that’s the field I decided to go into, and I’m glad I did because I enjoy working with kids.”
- Nothing about it makes sense.
Philosophy never clicked with Demarest. He explains, “I just wasn’t ready for this. It was a different train of thought from high school classes, and I wasn’t prepared for thinking that way. I’ve always done really well with classes. Before my first day of class, I was like ‘I got this.’ I didn’t get it.” It is not worth majoring in something that does not make sense to you.
- Going to class is synonymous with death.
Haywiser detested every engineering class he took. He said, “I was not enjoying my time in the classroom, and I figured that it was going to kill me because of my inability to understand the material so I was having a hard time.” Another Gannon student sharing this sentiment was sophomore advertising communications major Ali Leng. She stated that she hated showing up to her science classes when she was a physician’s assistant major. If you hate the classes in your major, you don’t have to be so dramatic, just switch majors.
- You avoid homework at all costs.
Haywiser said that he always avoided his engineering homework because he simply didn’t enjoy the material and procrastinated a lot. If you avoid your homework because you do not like the subject matter, then it is probably time to switch majors.
- You can achieve your career goal with another major.
While Emma Oros was an English major, she talked to her adviser about changing her career path. Her adviser asked her to shadow an English as a Second Language (ESL) instructor. During the shadowing, she asked the ESL instructor about her college major. The instructor said was an Early Childhood Education major. Oros decided to major in Early Childhood Education. If you could achieve your career goal with a different, more preferred major, then go for it.
Taking the leap to a different major can be scary, so it’s wise to talk to your advisor first. Also, don’t forget to gather input from students already in the program. That way, you can get the inside scoop on what the major is really like. Good luck!