Changing majors: detrimental or beneficial?
January 3, 2023
Blog written by April Marvin
I feel like an expert at changing my mind because I have done it about three million times over the course of my life. And if you think about it, that’s a LOT in a small amount of time. When it comes to decisions, I haven’t always been the best. But when I started out my college journey, I knew (in my heart, mind, and to the core of my soul) that I wanted to be a lawyer. I could speak well, write, had a memory like a steel trap, enjoyed researching, loved most aspects of the law, and could argue with anyone and everyone. (I had a lot of practice in that particular field.)
That changed after one semester at UM-Dearborn — and quickly. In my first year of undergrad, I felt like my brain was a revolving door, continuously spinning and throwing things out while pulling other random stuff in. I get dizzy just thinking about how often and quickly I changed my mind.
It was frustrating to me because I had been so passionate about being a lawyer and going to law school that I had taken LSAT prep tests and planned on going to NYU for law school (“what, like it’s hard?!”). I didn’t picture myself like Elle Woods all bend-and-snap-like, but I did see myself as a professional lawyer. How could years of what I always knew I wanted, be so quickly thrown away?
The answer is life. And experience. It’s insanely hard at such a young age to decide what you want to do for the rest of your life, what makes you happy, let alone choosing between Chipotle and Taco Bell. What changed things for me was experiencing college life, taking different classes, and spending time thinking about not just passing classes, but what I enjoyed about them and the content. Being able to look at the course catalog and read over different classes and what they were about and asking myself if I would gain something personally and academically from them. It’s all trial and error.
I changed my mind about my major three times. It might not seem like a lot, but when you think about prerequisites for each major, the track of classes you have to follow, and ensuring you have all the proper attributes for that major, it can quickly turn into a long journey. Longer than you expected and longer than you have time or money for. There’s a big BUT coming…
You are allowed to change your mind about anything and everything.
Especially when it involves your life, your future, and your happiness.
We get so caught up in thinking about our future that we draw in a lot of stress about it instead of enjoying what we have right in front of us. We also may hold on to things that our families expect of us, or others want for/from us. Even with our own perfectly planned out futures, we try to work through something we just don’t enjoy or stay in a major that may not be right for us. And I am here to tell you that working in a career that you don’t like is a ticket to a ride you don’t want to be on. I’m talking about getting stuck on the zipper ride at the fair, spinning over and over in a cage.
So, back to my dreams of yelling “I object!” in the courtroom. I found, through several classes, that I just didn’t love the law. Gasp. I know. I know the exact moment it happened, I was studying Supreme Court cases and I had rubbed my eyes too long over the hundreds of pages that I literally asked myself, out loud, “Are you ever going to be able to remember ALL of these?!” I had a full out conversation with myself where I came to the conclusion that I didn’t want to do this anymore. So, I changed course. I also found that my passion had changed as I took different classes. I felt like I could reach people and make an impact in another way.
I went from political science to journalism, to undecided, to communications.
I tried classes, looked at potential careers, looked into the field and internships, and landed on communications. For me, this major took the best of everything I always wanted to do (from a young age being an actress or the president, and now concentrating on public relations as a press secretary, working in the government, or as a speechwriter) and melded them together for me. After all, communication is a skill you need in every field. That’s what worked for me. You know what will work for you. The reality is, only you can decide that. And what a powerful thing you have in that.
So, take your time, and don’t be afraid to change it up if you see yourself headed down a path you don’t love. This is your life, your time, and your future — make it work for you. Let your brain be that revolving door now while you have the time and don’t stress out if you need to switch it up. If you take the time to find your true passion and what makes you happy, your future will be smooth sailing (minus the zipper ride at the fair).