Should you break up with your major?

It’s time for some self-reflection. "Is this the right major for me?” is one of the most common thoughts a college student asks him or herself. After you’ve spent some time in your major, and you’re not sure if it’s the best fit, you may want to re-evaluate that decision.

Besides, how many of us really knew exactly what we wanted to do at 18 or 19? It might be scary to return to the dreaded limbo of being undecided but we’re here with a few tips that can make the decision-making a little less scary.

Are you in this for all the wrong reasons?

The move here is daunting enough, being alone, and starting your life anew with barely any support. Not to mention your parents back home were probably breathing down your neck to choose engineering or medicine or law.

According to Dr Diane Miller, director of Undergraduate Services at the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, choosing a major based on your parents’ expectations is a red flag to drop that major and pick up something you love.

While I reckon there’s nothing wrong with seeking out a career path that’ll result in financial success, it’s more important to focus on career success instead. Here’s the deal: the more passionate you are about your studies, the more likely you’re to succeed.

And don’t be fooled – we’re living in a generation where there are money-making opportunities in every field.

Dr Stephanie A. Smith, an English professor at the University of Florida. “Whether you are an early bird or a night owl, ask yourself, what gets you up? What keeps you up? And see if you can find a major that motivates [you].”

… which brings me to my next point.

You don’t do anything related outside of class.

If you’re a Visual Art major and don’t do anything artistic in your free time, it could be a sign that it’s just a hobby to you rather than something you want to build your life around.

I’m not you have to live and breathe your area of study, but it should play a part in your life.

When you’re majoring in something you’re passionate about, you’ll actually get some enjoyment out of what you learn in class and want to do tings related to it – even when the professor isn’t telling you to.

You chose only because you had to.

You were asked to declare your major when you first enrolled. You might’ve been the eager beaver with no idea what to do with your life, so you just chose the first thing that came to your mind. It’s not your fault – a great number of us still have no idea of what we want to be. Sure you can always switch major, that doesn’t mean you should just flip a coin to decide. Remember, tertiary studies aren’t cheap.

A lot will suffer through their majors just to get it over and done with. But if you’re still in the beginning of your college life, there’s still time to reconsider without much issue. Just don’t flip-flop around every semester and end up wasting your parents’ money.

You’re doing poorly.

Another hint you’re on the wrong path is performing poorly in one of the preliminary courses.

Try as you might, you just can’t seem to pass Chemistry, perhaps you may need to re-evaluate your Med School dream; continuing on the higher-level courses will only make matters worse because you wouldn’t have the foundations from the lower levels.

You aren’t failing because you’re lazing about – you spend hours and hours studying, and over-preparing for a mere class quiz, and yet still can’t grasp concepts. More and more, you’re feeling like you’re beating your head against the wall. 

Don’t lose credits!!!

Changing majors recklessly is more common than you think; many of us change majors and end up taking longer to complete Uni – this means more money, and time wasted.

The thing here is to know when to change your major. If you’re within your first year (>120 credits), you have a better chance of moving your credits and course work around to other majors than if you’re already taking upper level modules.

Talk to your course advisor and find out the criteria required for the change; for instance, you might need an academic average of H2A (75% - 79%) to move from Arts to Commerce – this would be easier to achieve within your first year than second year.

If you think of changing majors in the near future, research the implications before getting too far into your coursework. In other words, plan your transfer wisely.

Final words.

Before you make the switch, ask your friends from different majors, and meet with your adviser (if you don’t know where to find him or her, go to the admin office and request to make an appointment), who can assess the situation, and help decide what major is a better fit for you. Try taking classes in a variety of fields and see if you have an interest in a particular subject (best to do this within the first three weeks when you can still withdraw from modules).

Just remember, Uni is a path of discovery – if you’re in the wrong major, making the change is part of that journey.