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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

You can change your major

Sometimes you spend a year and a half working in a research lab, pipetting, dissecting, labeling and slowly dying, only to take a game-changing class and realize you’ve spent the entire first half of college chasing a dream that you never really wanted. You can change your major, and it won’t carpet-bomb your entire existence. Do it early enough and you’ll actually benefit.

I started college with the (widely held) notion that I wanted to pursue a career in medicine and go to medical school. Like most of my friends from high school, I had taken all of the AP science courses, volunteered at a hospital and was lining my resume with extracurricular activities that I thought would make med school happen. What I was actually doing was wasting time on something I really didn’t care about, which goes directly against what I’ve found college to really be about: finding yourself for $40k a year.

I still don’t know what I fully care about, but it is definitely not science in the strictest sense. I took the aforementioned amazing class and realized what I truly care about is working to resolve economic, educational and social disparities present in today’s society, and I have my gifted Spanish professors to thank for that.

I cheated. I didn’t have to change my major because I declared two different majors at the start of college: physiology and Spanish. When I realized I was less interested in science (after I had taken all of the hard lab sciences, yahoo!) I switched my focus to caring more about involvement in the humanities. I’ve come too far to actually drop physiology, but at this point I consider myself to identify as a humanities major and not a science major.

The fact of the matter is that most college students have no idea what the hell they want to do and are bending to the will of societal pressure or the lure of a consistent paycheck. Sometimes that will is manifested in hyper-aggressive parents who still ask you if you want to practice medicine or a long line of family lawyers who don’t understand why you’re a different, unique snowflake uninterested in litigation.

My good friend Jessie Marman and I started in the same major, and now home-girl is slaying the entire world in visual communications. She felt pressured by her parents to go into a field with job security, where the jobs were growing on job-trees and being handed out to anyone with an advanced degree. To her family and mine, medicine was a safe bet for their bright, young, uber-talented child.

“The unfortunate truth is that high-performing students are conditioned from a young age to pursue a specific set of careers,” Jessie said. “As a freshman surrounded by friends in pre-law, pre-med and engineering tracks, it was hard not to believe that those careers were the ‘correct’ choice. After too many hours spent doodling in organic chemistry, I finally realized that medicine was not for me—and that was perfectly okay.”

If, like Jessie and I, you find yourself pushed into a major where you dread studying and hate coming to class, you’re definitely in the wrong place. Don’t be afraid to take a semester to survey a variety of classes so you can ascertain what you actually care about. Find likeminded people to talk to; you might find that they’re in the major that you should be in.

Hint: if you don’t want to go to class, you don’t want that as your career for the next 60 years.

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