Is it Okay to Change Your Major in College? My experience
Let's talk school, the craziness of college. More specifically, declaring a major and actually sticking to it. I don't know about you but I personally went into college at Syracuse University with a declared major, in Nutrition and Dietetics, because I knew I loved healthy eating and wanted to help others eat healthy; but unfortunately it's not that easy. My naive high school self only got me so far, considering I changed my major for the FIRST time just 2 weeks into my freshmen year. The first day of my first nutrition class ever my professor told us that this degree will get us a job as a dietitian, and only a dietitian. So you can only assume I spent those next 2 weeks looking at all possible job settings a dietitian could work in, and what the job really entails. After that, I realized I didn't think it was for me, it just didn't seem riveting enough for what I had thought it would be, which is just my personal experience.
After deciding I didn't want to pursue this and getting the go ahead from my mom to do whatever would make me happiest for my career in the future, I went to my academic advisor and changed my major to Public Health. Luckily, since I changed so early I was able to change some of my classes and stay on track for that degree; so this change did no harm to my future scheduling. The rest of my fall semester was great, I loved my classes and really enjoyed what I was learning. Come spring semester, I had made some big decisions about transferring Universities in the fall (which will be it's own post), and with that came some skepticism about Public Health as my major. I still loved my classes, but hearing about the careers in Epidemiology and things of that nature, just didn't excite me the way I knew they should've. I decided I was going to apply The University at Buffalo as a Public Health major, but I knew I was going to switch to something once I started.
Come the fall of my sophomore year, I decided to switch for the SECOND time to Exercise Science - Pre-Physical Therapy, and talking to people about everything a PT gets to do, it sounded like the perfect job to me. But, the switch wasn't as easy this time. I was behind about 5 classes, and it led me to have to take classes over the winter and summer semesters, and take over a full-time load for the fall and spring. So was it okay to switch again? Honestly, it probably wasn't my brightest mood, in terms of my stress levels during that year, to only...yep you guessed it, switch for a THIRD time.
Fast forward to the spring of my sophomore year, school was kicking my ass but I loved it. I decided to shadow a physical therapist just to see, and well it wasn't what I expected. It was cool, and very informative, but it didn't make me giddy to go back. At this time, my boyfriend and his friends were all in DPT school, and seeing their passion for PT didn't reflect what I was feeling, so I decided to switch my path again. After thinking for a long time, and some frustration filled conversations with my mom, I decided that I was still extremely interested in food and nutrition, so I wanted to change my undergrad; but UB doesn't have this program. After meeting with my advisor countless times and trying to explain to her what my ideal job is but struggling to put it into words, she told me to change my undergrad to essentially whatever I want in the relative field of what I wanted to work in, and then be more specific with a graduate school degree. So, that's exactly what I did. For the THIRD time, I changed my undergrad to Exercise Science - Health Promotion.
Before this switch, I didn't look very closely into what classes were different, because I thought since they were still under the same umbrella major, they'd be relatively similar. Well, come to find out I was behind 4 classes and had taken a few classes I actually didn't need to have taken anymore. So was this change okay? This one left me having to take 7 classes this fall at 19 credits, a winter class, 17 credits in the spring, and yet another summer class. The summer class is for what I think I want to go to grad school for, so fingers crossed I keep my eyes on the prize with this one.
So, was it all worth it?! Is changing your major 3+ times a possibility and still graduate on time?? Yes. Changing my major so many times led me with the one I'm currently in, and I'm loving every second of it. Through interviews I've learned what I want to do for my career, which will be a later post. IF you are willing to take extra classes, and not be as social for a small amount of time, it is 100% worth it. If you work closely with your advisor and hold yourself accountable it is possible. My experience forced me to take classes in the off semesters, but it's what I had to do, and I wanted it so bad that it made it worth it. If you have the drive go for it, no one expects you to pick a career path at 18 years old and stick to it. You're not the only one changing you major one, twice, or 5 times, trust me. Find your path however many trials and errors it takes, it'll be worth it when you find it.