Most people will tell you that college will be the "best years of your life." I mean, they aren't technically wrong, but those of us living the experience right now know that it's not always rainbows and unicorns. In fact, college can become extremely confusing, especially for those that don't have a clue of what career path they want to take.
Despite how scary that sounds, a lot of students are struggling with this and are having a hard time figuring out if switching their major is the right or most practical choice. Well, have no fear! I'm coming to you still alive and breathing. I made the decision to switch my major during my fourth semester of college, and it was the best thing I could've done for my mental, physical, and emotional health. Here are a few things to ask yourself before taking the risk:
1. Are you happy?
I feel this is one of the most important factors in deciding if a major change is right for you. A lot of people go into a college major for the money aspect. Even though they're working towards a career that'll provide them financial security, they aren't passionate about what they're doing. This can lead to depression and anxiety. For me, I decided to pursue a music degree because I loved singing in high school. It turned out I wasn't as in love with it as I thought, but I continued to push myself for a couple semesters because I felt like I HAD to keep going. I lacked motivation to go to my classes and was extremely sad. However, don't mix up stress with sadness. Everyone is going to be overly stressed at some point in their college life, but being stressed about something you love is worth it! Make sure to ask yourself if you're happy with what your future will be.
2. Are you holding yourself back out of fear?
Okay, I'm definitely not someone who takes risks. This resonated with me because I like being comfortable. I realized I put off changing my major for so long because I was insanely afraid. Experiencing something outside of what I always knew was a scary thought, and the idea that I'd have to make new friends within my new major was off-putting. Also, I was scared that I didn't have enough time left. I'd already spent a whole year studying something that I really didn't want to do. News flash: don't compare your time in college to your peers! You're all doing different things, and you have to focus on yourself. Yes, switching your major might add on an extra year or two, but in the end you'll be happier!
3. Are you caring too much about other's opinions?
Alright, so this is a big one. A lot of the time, the answer is clear and we as individuals know exactly which path in life we want to take, however, peer pressure is a powerful thing. The idea of having to tell your friends, family, and instructors about your major change is a bit frightful. For me, I felt I was disappointing my parents and past teachers that influenced me to go into music. First, college isn't cheap, and I felt like I was wasting money by switching my major. Second, I was known by many as the one that would make a great music educator, so in my mind I felt a sense of failure. Obviously, that wasn't the case. You shouldn't feel like you're letting people down by deciding to try something new. Some people are going to be shocked, disappointed, and maybe even a little frustrated with you, but if they truly care about you they'll be supportive. Also, you are attending college to get YOUR education. The opinions and judgements of other people shouldn't faze you since they aren't the ones paying for it! Always remember that.
4. Are you getting unbiased feedback?
I know it seems important to ask your friends and family for advice during this confusing time in your life. Sometimes though, the people closest to us can pressure us into making a decision that isn't ideal. Take the time and ask yourself if you're truly getting unbiased opinions from those around you. When you ask the friends you met in your old college major, they may push you to stay because they're biased towards it! This also applies to professors and instructors within that major. It's okay to talk to others and ask for help, but take the things you hear with a grain of salt. At the end of the day, you must be in tune with yourself and what you really want. For an unbiased point of view, a career counselor would be a good choice!
5. Are you being honest with yourself?
This question is key! A lot of the time students feel burnt out, stressed, and tired. At that point, they feel a loss of motivation in their current major and think this is an indication that they need to switch. Sometimes, that is the case, but other times it's a bit of laziness. Make sure to sit down and ask yourself why you feel the need to make a change. If the reasons you provide deal with not wanting to do your homework, study, or put in time with your current major, and you feel a different major would be easier then you're doing this for the wrong reasons! Every college major is difficult and requires a crap ton of work. However, if you are feeling an overwhelming amount of anxiety as well as depression and a lack of interest, a major switch may be the path for you. This sadness will also start to take a toll on your physical health and you may find yourself catching more colds or getting excessive stomach aches. Like mentioned in question #4, being in tune with yourself is important! I hope you all have found some guidance from this post! Just know that you're not going through this alone and there are many students experiencing the same thing.
You've got this!
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