Don't fear a change of courseBy John David Thompson | 01/29/2016 9:38am
There are many stressors for the modern college student: student loans, grades, social life and of course, your major. Many students are under immense stress from their parents and themselves to choose the right major. However, changing majors is quite common.
Borderzine.com reports that 80 percent of college students across America change majors, and that the average student changes his or her major three times. Although changing your major is very common, it is still important to make sure you do the proper research and preparation for making a switch.
The more research you can perform on your potential new field of study, the better. Consulting with academic advisors, fellow students and alumni who have been successful in that major is important. Also, take an in-depth look at the classes you will be taking. If possible, email the professors and ask for copies of the syllabus from a previous semester, or talk to students who have previously taken that course and find out exactly what you will be doing.
According to the Washington Post, “27 percent of college grads had a job that was closely related to their major.” Although your major does not necessarily have to match your intended career goals, it is important to find a course of study in which you can gain the skill set you may need. Most employers would rather see actual experience in a field anyway. Finding internships in the summers to gain actual experience in your particular field could be more influential in landing your dream job than your major.
Perhaps what is most important about finding a new course of study is finding one that makes you happy. When the University of Warwick performed studies investigating happiness and productivity, they discovered that happy people were 12 percent more productive. While there are many external factors that affect one’s overall happiness, your career should be one of the most important, especially in college.
While it may be hard to change majors from something you thought was your passion since high school, there is nothing wrong with changing. It does not mean that you have failed, or are not good enough. College is a period of discovery and transitioning into adulthood. Part of becoming an adult is making difficult decisions that will affect you for the rest of your left. Choosing a major is one of those. Luckily, unlike marriage or having a child, if you find that you are not satisfied with your decision, changing a major does not have dire consequences.
Finally, remember that it is OK to change majors. The vast majority of college students do. However, take the time and effort make the right change. Most importantly, make the change that will give you happiness and self-fulfillment. Find something that challenges you and makes you think.
John David Thompson is a junior majoring in political science and French. His column runs biweekly.