Sometimes finding the right major takes trial and error, support of faculty member

Anna Speer April 29, 2015 0

Sometimes things just aren’t right. You’re getting by and you’re doing fine. Perhaps you can’t pinpoint anything being wrong. Maybe the stars aren’t aligned quite right or maybe the change in seasons is throwing you off. You could just be sleep deprived, but aren’t we all? Or maybe you’re in the wrong major, a stressful concept, no doubt.

From the time we were able to speak we were asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Answers varied from doctor, to princess, to fireman and everything in between and beyond. You may have gravitated towards the occupation your parents chose or maybe not. Come middle school answers became more detailed and, in some cases, more realistic. As we entered high school, the questions were altered to “What school do you want to go to?” and “What do you want to major in?”

Some degrees offer you a wide variety of employment opportunities, but others lock you into one specific job title for the rest of your life. The voices in the back of our heads warned us to do something we love, lest we become the aging, complaining, job-hating middle-aged adults who tried to guide us. We need something that will pay the bills and doing what we love often will not be enough.

The major you pursue can define the rest of your occupational life. That’s terrifying, especially for those of us who selected a major on a whim. What if I’m going into the wrong field? What if I’m not meant to be doing this? What if there’s something better for me? These questions have plagued my mind since I arrived here in August.

I told myself that I would not change my mind about my major. I was afraid that if I changed my major once, I would do it again and then I would never decide and I would drop out and never continue “higher education”. It became too much and this fear overwhelmed me. I decided that I should drop out and go to trade school instead.

My parents said no. They said that I needed to get a bachelor’s degree. I investigated switching schools. Maybe Elizabethtown College just wasn’t the right environment for me. I told myself that if I switched schools, I would at least keep my major. I have already put in two semesters worth of time and effort into this major. Why would I let that go?

Fast forward to last week. I was in the car with some friends in my program — music therapy — and we were talking about how some states now require a master’s degree for us to work. I told them the same thing I told my parents. There was no way I was getting a master’s degree. This first year had been hard enough and the next three would only become more difficult. I realized that I did not want to do it anymore. That was it. Not because it was too hard or too demanding. I simply did not want to do it anymore. I had no motivation, no drive and no passion. So I decided to stop torturing myself and to change majors.

This was the day before my registration day. It was a whirlwind. I emailed my advisor and asked to meet with him immediately. In the span of three days I went from having everything set up and ready to go for next semester to having nothing planned; no idea what classes to take and no idea who to go to for help. My advisor was a god-send. I told him what I thought I might want to switch to and he emailed professors I should see and set up a meeting for me with the head of the department I wanted to switch into. As soon as I left his office that day, I felt relief. That was it. Just relief. I may not have had a plan, but I had at least changed paths from the one that was wrong for me. And that’s a start.

Don’t be afraid of change, especially if you are not happy where you are. There’s a reason people change majors so often. It’s hard to know what you want to do without trying it first. One of the best perks of Etown is the people who are always willing to help. You are allowed to change your mind and you are definitely allowed, even advised, to reach out for help if you don’t know what to do or where to go next.


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