It’s OK to change your major, consider practical application

May 09, 2017

Hannah Harvey

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     When I was 18 years old, I was eager to become a doctor.

     I was ready to take all the necessary steps to work toward my ultimate end goal – medical school.

     I chose biomedical science as my major, took the Club Med GPS class at UCCS and looked into shadowing opportunities with local hospitals.

     But I didn’t end up pursuing my initial career path.

     I changed my major three times when I was a freshman in varying concentrations of biology, because I couldn’t find an application to what I wanted to do, and it was even more disheartening when I had to drop chemistry and retake it.

     It’s OK to change your major as a freshman or even later in your degree path. The stress of sticking to one career path that isn’t right for you isn’t always worth it.

     The point is not that I failed in my goal to become a doctor.

     Through these trials, I found what I truly wanted to do after I realized that I shouldn’t have been a biology major in the first place.

     If you apply yourself to what you truly want to do by seeking out internships, shadowing opportunities and educating yourself on what the logistics of your desired career field look like, you can’t go wrong.

     Even if you change your major three, four, five or even six times, don’t sweat it – you aren’t the only one.

     Around 80 percent of college students switch their major at least once during their time at a university, according to a study published by the Education Advisory Board in the District of Columbia.

     The graduation rate for students who change their major is high as well; students surveyed in the study who change their major in their first or even their last semester in their college career have an 82- 84 percent graduation rate in comparison to those who don’t, which is 78 percent.

     This is not to say that you’re guaranteed to graduate or fail if you change your major or not; many students worry about not graduating on time, but here at UCCS, and at most colleges, many seniors will go on to complete a fifth year.

     That doesn’t mean you should just switch for the sake of switching; make sure you know when and where to apply your talents.

     We’re often told that majors like English, communication, theater, anthropology, essentially anything in the soft sciences or arts, aren’t good degrees to have.

     Be aware that more than one way to apply your degree in any career field you choose exists.

     Even if I had stuck with biology, my degree wouldn’t have necessarily meant that I would become a doctor. And even though I will graduate with an English degree, that doesn’t mean I’ll become a journalist.

     In college, we have to be OK with the learning process and that our intentions don’t always get us the results that we want, like the original dream career that we intended on pursuing.

     You might not be an award-winning communication scholar or a life-changing doctor, but that doesn’t mean you’ve failed in what you want to do.

     This is why learning about all of the factors of what we choose to major in, if we decide to change this three times or not, is important.

     In college, we can’t be afraid to take chances and chase what we’ve always wanted to do. If you’re educated and in an institution of higher learning, you can always figure out a plan.

     Don’t stress about your freshman year; you don’t have to have it all figured out now.