Trust Your Gut When Choosing Your Major

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Theater, dance, writing, reading… my list of interests goes on endlessly. While this created a world of possibilities when imagining what to do in the future, a conflict arose when I applied to colleges my senior year of high school. I struggled to decide on a major because of all the things I loved to do. I eventually decided on English. My passion for English stems back to elementary school, so expanding my knowledge of writing and grammar appealed to me when I picked it.

I wanted to learn more than high school ever let me.

In high school, I took a communications class. We learned about the dos and don’ts of public speaking, how to give different types of speeches and the International Phonetic Alphabet, an aspect of linguistics that made me truly appreciate language. Learning all of these things impacted me enough that I wanted to learn more about the subject. I changed my major to communication studies the summer right before starting college.

As an eager freshman, I sat in a big lecture hall with 300 other people in my first communications class. I scribbled notes in my notebook as Dr. Barry Vacker lectured us on memes and other forms of media in society. I always sat towards the front, engaged and ready to learn.

Yet, I felt the inevitable come inching towards me. During my freshman year, my other passions started to creep back into my life. My roommate at the time, Mickey, majored in theater. Watching her run lines for her acting class made me realize I missed performing. I wanted to keep theater in my life during college, so I declared a minor in theater. I was excited to continue pursuing theater by taking classes. I also realized that I missed aspects of English. I added a certificate in writing. In the fall of my sophomore year, I took my first class for my writing certificate: Introduction to Linguistics. I found this class so interesting that I added a certificate in linguistics, and I couldn’t wait to learn more about the science of language.

In the spring of my sophomore year, I took my second class for my writing certificate: Creative Writing Fiction. I remembered how much I loved and missed creative writing as my professor talked about the syllabus on the first day. About two weeks into the semester, I found myself much more willing to complete assignments for my creative writing class, while I went through the motions in my communications classes.

All of this sparked the idea to change my major back to English. I pondered that idea and thought about how it would impact things going forward, such as graduating on time and my desire to study abroad. After speaking with friends, family and many academic advisors, I decided the benefits of changing my major outweighed the consequences. I felt relieved and excited when I officially changed my major (back) to English.

As a result of changing my major, I dropped my linguistics certificate and changed my communications major to a minor. However, I realized I could find the aspects of communications and linguistics that I enjoyed within English. In addition, I took a few summer classes so I could still graduate on time. Fitting nine credits into one summer frustrated me at times, especially because of the stress of a condensed schedule. With quizzes and papers due every week, I managed my time well and made it work. I also studied abroad for six weeks over the summer, rather than for a whole semester. However, I still lived my dream of exploring London and other places around Europe.

College costs a lot of time and money, so you should enjoy the classes you take. You want to get the most out of this time. It’s scary to change your major because you start to worry whether or not it’s the right decision. Luckily for myself, I found that this decision worked out for me. Changing my major also made me realize that I am interested in a career in editing or publishing. When it comes to picking a major, stick with your gut and your first decision. However, if you get lost along the way, don’t worry. You’ll find your way back.

Anastasia is a senior at Temple University with a major in English and minors in theater and communication studies. She loves writing, theater, dancing, laughing, traveling, and eating mac and cheese.

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