I recently changed my major because I didn’t feel a connection with the one I was in. I didn’t look forward to going to class, and I couldn’t see myself in that career, even though it may have afforded me a higher salary. My family and friends are now questioning why I changed, and I’m having second thoughts. Did I make the right decision to choose a career I felt I would enjoy, or should I have stayed in a field because it afforded me more money and opportunities?
This is a situation so many students face. Sometimes students will choose a major based on what their family members have done, what the average income for someone in a field related to that major is, or because the program sounds interesting. Then, once those students begin that program, they don’t feel a connection to the major, prompting them to look for something else.
It’s a difficult decision to make, especially when the credits you’ve earned may not transfer to the new program. In many instances, it’s like starting your junior year over again.
That’s why this decision shouldn’t be made haphazardly, but rather you must seek guidance and counsel. How far will changing majors set you back? What, if anything, will transfer from the program you were previously enrolled in? What are the job opportunities with a degree in the program you would like to switch to?
Make sure to meet with the adviser of your current program, but also speak to an adviser in the program to which you would like to switch. In addition, I recommend making an appointment with Mercer University’s Center for Career and Professional Development, so you can get information about the careers that would be available to you with the new major.
If you’ve already done all of that and decided it was best for you to make the change, my advice is to go where your heart leads. So many of us start out going one direction, and then sometime in our lives, we pivot. There can be a million reasons why we change direction, but I have found in my own life that if my heart is screaming that a change is needed, then I must obey.
I experienced this in my own journey. I had planned on becoming an elementary educator. But as I progressed toward my degree, I began to realize that while my heart still wanted to work with students, I didn’t feel that teaching elementary school was for me. Furthermore, I found that I loved working in higher education, and since I was a student ambassador and I had the opportunity to write this column, I found I had a heart for student success and working with students who want to earn their degree.
My family and friends questioned my decision to change paths. They asked if I was sure and said things like, “You were born to teach. You’re so good at it,” and, “Well, if that doesn’t work out, you can always teach.” It took some time for them to accept my new chosen path.
For the student who asked this question, I want you to understand that it just takes time. While you have thought about this for awhile, there was a version of “you” that your family and friends had come to accept. This version included you graduating with a degree in your previous major and working in a field related to that program. When they see you succeed in the major you have now chosen and you are enjoying your new career, they will understand. Just allow them time to adjust to the “you” that you are becoming.
In life, you will make a million and one choices. Sometimes your choices will be correct, and sometimes your choice may not be the best decision. But as someone who has lived on this Earth for quite some time, let me offer you some advice. Before making any decision that will change the course of your life, take some time and ponder on it. Review your options and consider different scenarios. If you take the time to really think about it and you decide making a change is the best option, then you will have the assurance that you did your homework and the choice you made was the best for you. Then, work to meet your own expectations of what that choice will afford you.
You’ve got this, and as always, I wish you health, happiness and continued success throughout your journey.
Kelly Browning, student success coordinator at the Henry County Regional Academic Center, answers questions from the Mercer community. Email her at email@example.com or fill out our online form to submit your question anonymously.
Feature photo by Mercer University