If you’re an incoming freshman, undergraduate, or graduate student, chances are that you’ve heard about how often college students change their majors. In fact, statistics show that 50%-70% of college students will change their major at least once. I know it sounds terrifying, but changing your mind about what to do with your life can actually be pretty great in the long run. As students learn new things in college, their interests may change and they can be exposed to careers that they’d never even known about before.
If you’re reconsidering your initial major choice, keep reading! I’m going to share my own story about changing my major, and tell you why it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
I started out as that college freshman who thought she knew exactly what she wanted to do for the rest of her life. I’m a pretty stubborn person who isn’t always too keen on change, so the thought of changing my major was definitely not on my radar. Even as a little kid, I knew that I wanted to go into healthcare, so I decided to choose a major in health sciences at the University of Alaska Anchorage. It seemed like a perfect fit - health sciences for my health-related future. It sounds a little silly, but I wasn’t exactly sure what the major was truly about. I simply chose it because an advisor had told me that the major was a good option for the pre-physician assistant track. It all seemed like a well put-together plan - major in a health-related subject, become a physician assistant, and live happily ever after … or so I thought.
In high school, I decided to take an AP psychology class. I chose it because I had heard good things about it from other students, and I wanted to get a better idea of what psychology really was. After a year of studying the basics of psychology, I fell in love. Learning about human behavior, the brain, and how our minds work was so amazing to me. I heard that the University of Alaska Anchorage offered psychology as a major, but I wasn’t exactly sure what I would do with it. I didn’t want to become a psychologist or researcher, so I didn’t think the major would be a good fit to me. I was also a little naive in my thinking and figured that a psychology degree would have no place in the medical world. I brushed off the thought of being a psych major, and went for health sciences instead.
As the years went by (three, to be exact) I realized that the plan I had set for myself when I first started college wasn’t working out for me anymore. I also realized that I was only pursuing a career as a physician assistant because I was too afraid to apply to medical school; I figured that the pre-med track would be too hard and time-consuming, and that I would never get in with my grades. My mindset changed when I studied extremely hard one semester and actually ended with a high GPA. My real dream was to become a doctor, and now I saw that I had the potential to get high enough grades to be noticed by a medical school admissions committee. I decided to take the plunge and take the pre-med track. I had also taken a couple more psychology classes, and realized that I should probably major in a subject that I really enjoyed (might as well, if you’re spending 4+ years on it!). That same year, I also decided to change my major to psychology.
Today, I’m a fourth year student at the University of Colorado Denver (yeah…I also transferred to a new school 3,000 miles away), studying psychology and pursuing a career as a physician. I’m the happiest I’ve ever been, and changing my major definitely played a part in that. If you’re coming into college hard-headed and stuck on one goal and major, like I was, you might think that the statistics mentioned at the beginning of this article won’t apply to you. Maybe you’re right; maybe you really do have a clear plan, and will be successful in following it. However, one thing I learned about myself throughout this process is that I should keep an open mind. By closing yourself off to the possibility of studying other majors, you could be missing out on something that you might end up loving. So I’ll leave you with this: changing your major is totally normal, you will be okay, and if you are thinking about studying a different subject, I totally recommend that you do it! It might just be one of the best decisions you make with your life.
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