Changing your major seems daunting. Do you have to completely start over with your classes? What if you change it and don’t end up liking the new major you picked? How will it make your parents feel if you change?
All of these are valid questions. Changing your major can be a big deal for a college student. But it can also be the best decision a student can make.
I changed my major at the end of my sophomore year. I came to Auburn my freshman year with the high hopes of going to physical therapy school after I graduated from undergraduate. I started my freshman year as a Biomedical Science major in the College of Science and Mathematics, also known as COSAM. Most of my classes that year were the typical core classes that every freshman has to take. The sciences were slightly more difficult seeing as I was taking the ones that I needed to progress in my major, but that wasn’t too difficult for me. I made it through my freshman year just fine and continued on to my sophomore year.
Fall semester my sophomore year was still filled with many core classes I had to take, but once spring semester started I began taking more classes that were specific to my major. Soon, studying and doing homework became my entire life, which is pretty normal for a college student in a science major. I tried to keep up as best I could, but eventually, I felt myself starting to drown in the amount of work I was doing. There were some science classes I loved while there were others I absolutely dreaded. My stress levels rose as the semester went on, which I thought was how everyone felt during school. By the end of the semester, I felt like I was being consumed by school work and the negative feelings that came with it. I couldn’t figure out why I was feeling this way. Weren’t college academics supposed to be difficult? How come I seemed way more stressed than others around me? Then it clicked. As much as I wanted to go to grad school for physical therapy after I graduated, my path to get there had become an uphill battle I was not winning. So after some soul searching and talking with my advisors, I decided to change my major.
Biomedical Science Curriculum vs, Public Relations Curriculum
I spent most of the summer looking through every major Auburn offered trying to figure out which one fit my skill set. After what seemed like weeks of looking, I finally decided to declare myself a pre-public relations major. At the beginning of my junior year, I took my academic file from COSAM to the College of Liberal Arts and officially switched colleges. I immediately scheduled an appointment with my College of Liberal Arts advisor so I could begin to figure out which classes I needed to take and how my COSAM credits applied to my curriculum. I learned most of my credits switched over, but most of the science classes I had taken became elective credits and that I was still lacking some core credits. So I registered for the rest of my core credits and the pre-PR credits I needed so I could apply to the Public Relations program. After talking with my advisor, I learned that because my major change was so drastic (going from all science to a liberal arts major), I would have to extend my time at Auburn. Hearing that news broke my heart- my parents and I had agreed to four years of undergrad not five.
Telling them about this became my biggest concern. Were they going to be mad? How were they going to handle the extra cost? I was a nervous wreck. I’ll give my parents lots of credit- they were much more reasonable than I thought they would be (I, of course, expected the worst). They agreed that my strengths were much more suited to being a public relations major than a biomedical science major. They pointed out that my writing and design skills would have the chance to become more developed, and that my people skills would make me excel in this field. They were slightly disappointed that my undergraduate education would have to be extended to the fifth year, but they agreed it was for the best.
I took the maximum amount of classes I could each semester so I could be a part-time student my fifth year. It was a heavy load, but I was taking classes I enjoyed and that was seen in my grades. I had finally landed in the major that I was meant for, and I couldn’t have been happier. I did two internships the summer after my senior year and before my fifth year. One was for credit while the other one was just for fun. Since I enjoyed interning so much, I decided to look for internships for the fall and spring once my summer ones were completed. I set up my classes so I could work on the days I didn’t have class, and I found an internship for both the fall and spring.
Now that graduation is inching closer and closer, I realize my decision to change my major and be a part-time student and intern during my fifth year was definitely the right way to handle my situation. Not only have I been able to be successful academically, I have also gained valuable work experience that has helped decided which field of public relations I want to go into once I graduate. The moral of the story is, if you want to change your major- go for it! It may just be the best decision you make. Don’t be afraid to take chances, and listen to yourself. You know what’s best for you.
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