Why Changing Your Major Isn’t A Tragedy

First things first, changing your major is okay. I cannot stress this enough. Whether you start your first year knowing what you want to do in the future or not, plans change, you will change and that’s okay. Don’t stress if you decide that the major you originally intended to declare doesn’t work for you.

You — especially you pre-med folks — may be thinking, “No, I know exactly what I want to do; I have all four years planned out, and I know exactly what classes I’m taking each semester until graduation.” While that’s wonderful, and planning ahead is great, things change. Almost every student will go through what I like to call the “mid-college crisis,” so I’m here to tell you how to navigate through it when the time comes.

When I originally applied to Wake Forest, I wanted to be a psychology major. Right before my first year began, I thought that maybe the business school was for me and decided to pursue pre-business in my first two years. However, halfway through sophomore year, I realized the business school wasn’t for me and that it was time to change my major. This was the beginning of my mid-college crisis.

If or when this happens to you, it may feel like you wasted the past couple of years on a major that you no longer want to pursue. You may feel like there’s absolutely no way to choose a new major before declaration week starts and you have to declare some major. You may even feel like you have to just suck it up and keep pursuing a path you don’t want to walk anymore because you’re worried you can’t start and finish a new major in the amount of time you have left. Well, don’t feel that way, because you’re wrong.

Take a deep breath and think about it.

Do you feel like you have wasted your time here so far? Think about it this way: you spent the last two years completing most of your divisionals. Now, you are able to go into the second half of your sophomore year focusing on your new intended major and minor. As tidying guru and Netflix star Marie Kondo would advise, your old classes, though no longer useful, served a purpose on your academic journey. Thank them for their service and move on.

Do you feel like there’s no way you can pick a new major before declaration week? At this point, you’ve probably taken a ton of divisionals in several different departments. Which one of them spoke to you, and which did you enjoy the most? Maybe a major in that department will work out the best. Remember, while your major is important, it isn’t the deciding factor in your future career, so make sure you’re majoring in something you love above all else. Your college experience will be much better.

If you can’t think of any divisional that truly speaks to you, go to the Office of Academic Advising or the Office of Personal and Career Development (OPCD). Either make an appointment or just comb through their website. They have tons of useful information on all of the majors, and speaking to a staff member is useful to help plan out your future classes. On their website, they explain that students perform better when they’re in classes that they enjoy.

While that may sound like common sense, many people put themselves through classes they hate because they think the classes are beneficial to their future career. If you hate the class, then there’s a chance you’ll also hate the career, so make sure you’re staying true to yourself and choose classes that you enjoy.

Finally, do you feel like there’s no way you can finish your new major in the amount of time you have left? Think about it this way: the average major is around 30-40 credits, and most minors range from around 12-18 credit hours. The average student takes 15 credit hours a semester. You can come close to finishing your entire major in one year and an entire minor in a semester. Don’t fret about time; you have enough of it.

If you take nothing else away from this article, remember this: everyone goes through their own version of a mid-college crisis, and it’s okay to change your major.