I always thought that I constitute as one of those people who choose a career path and follow it. Well, needless to say, that didn’t happen. In fact, since I started university, I changed my program four times. So, I don’t think that “decisive” qualifies as an adjective to describe me in that matter. Any regrets? Not really. I only regret that I didn’t make some of the changes sooner. Now, I come here to save you from the same mistake.
Why did I change my program four times? Well, welcome to story time!
I come from Europe where you cannot really change your majors that easily, so I learned that if you chose something you should stick to it. Spoiler alert: worst thing I ever learned. That’s why I got into college in the U.S. as legal studies major, but I only applied as legal studies because of expectations. There came my first change week into college—I changed into political science. It made sense since I worked with nonprofits since age of 16 and I kept an eye on politics.
I made this choice very rationally; I didn’t want to study law, so I went with something close to it that I liked, politics. However, the longer I stayed the more I realized I can do it, but I don’t want to, because I lacked the passion. I tried to change things up with change number two: adding a double minor in communications and Italian.
Very quickly I discovered how happy I felt in the communications department. However, I still heard that voice in a back of my mind saying, “You should stick to what you picked instead of changing majors so late—maybe you can be happy in political communications.” Well, I tried to fight it, for far too long, until I couldn’t anymore. Fast forward to end of junior year, when I dropped my Italian minor to double major in political science and communications. Credit wise it didn’t make any sense for me to drop political science at this point, so I added communication instead.
How it felt? Terrifying, taking additional major with just two semesters left. It felt like I went mad or signed on for a new Mission Impossible movie. What convinced me to make that choice then? The incredible faculty. I met with my communications professor and with tears in my eyes and told her that I am junior hating my major.
She understood, asked me why and said that I needed to be sure, but she can help me make this work and we did.
The next two semesters will not count as pleasant, and I will do the work of three people, plus trying to make up for no connections in the communications industry and missing courses. On the other hand, I can definitely say I made a good choice the one that makes me happy.
Yes, by making that change I made very risky decision, and none can guarantee me an easy transition to a job, but I know I made the right one. I recently talked with another professor in the communication department and when she heard my story and why I changed, she said that sometimes knowing what you don’t want to do and why ends up being more important. It brings you closer to figuring out what makes you happy. That really stuck with me and posed as a reason as to why I wanted to write this article. Sticking with politics lands close to top of my biggest regrets, because of how terrified I felt that I didn’t allow myself to quit.
This way we ended up right back here—spoiler alert from the beginning.
But here goes the big advice, finale morale. If you don’t feel happy in your major, don’t wait. Change it, figure out what you want to do, and if you hesitate, start from adding minors! Worst case scenario, you will change that minor into major. The point? As we see some friends graduate early and we all want everything fast, it may seem scary to say, “I changed my mind and I am graduating late because this other major makes up what I truly want to do.” That’s okay too, and we need to normalize that. Therefore, look around, think about what you study, where you really want to work, and if you don’t feel like your major is taking you there meet with dean or professor. Because it’s okay to change your mind.