Opinion | It’s OK to change your major

Hannah Shed, Contributing Columnist

Earlier this semester, I made a difficult decision. It’s a decision that so many students go through, but it still felt daunting.

“Should I change my major?” 

It’s a question that almost every student on campus asks themselves during their college careers. While some students ask this question only once, others may ask it countless times.

Regardless of students’ relationships to their majors, it’s a completely valid question to ask. Some students decide to change their major because they just can’t pass that “one class.” 

Others change their major because they aren’t actually interested in the classes they thought they’d love. Regardless of the reason students change their major, their decision to do so is not only valid, but healthy.

I applied to The University of Alabama as a news media major. The University’s media resources were a primary factor in my college decision, and I felt confident and secure in the path I envisioned for myself at the University.

Since then, however, I have changed my major twice: first to physics and second to environmental science. To others, my major changes may appear random or disorganized, but each change was built off of a unique experience with each major. 

I don’t regret the journey that I took to arrive at my current major. I needed to go through all of these doubts and changes to become the person I am today.

As college students, we are still rapidly changing and growing. It simply doesn’t make sense to make a decision as weighty as one’s entire career path at the age of 18. We shouldn’t expect to have the self-assurance and experience required to make a decision that will affect us until we retire.

College students haven’t been properly exposed to all that we could possibly do. Throughout college, we are able to get our feet wet by exploring a variety of different subjects that we haven’t had the resources for in the past.

It is crucial for us to pursue jobs that we will truly enjoy. Studies have shown that there are heavy correlations between job satisfaction and one’s physical and mental health. If we pursue our careers not out of passion but out of obligation, our health will suffer. This reality isn’t to be taken lightly; when we make career decisions, we make decisions about the kind of people we want to be.

Students echo the same primary concern about changing their major: loss of time and credits. While this worry is understandable, changing majors isn’t a death sentence.

Most of the time, credits can be transferred between majors. Even if these credits cannot be transferred, any loss of time will be forgotten in the future. Looking back on your college experience, you’ll be grateful you prioritized your own happiness over a four-year plan. The alternative is to dread each day for the rest of your life. 

College should be a time to change your mind. It should be about finding out what you want to do and who you want to be. 

Unfortunately, our whole grade school education is treated as mere preparation for the major we will ultimately choose. Before even leaving our hometowns, our futures are decided for us.

To resolve this issue, we desperately need to dismantle the way that we view college. It is not only a stop on our career path; it is an opportunity that allows us to experience a variety of fields and explore potential passions. It prepares us for so much more than a job; it prepares us for life. 

I encourage you to reflect on your passions, goals and desires. If nothing comes to mind, it’s time to join some clubs, or participate in a research project. The University boasts many opportunities; it’s up to us to pursue them. After all, that’s what college is for.

Pursue every experience with an open mind. You can never know what will click with you. You never know what could change the trajectory of your life. Reflect, get involved and remember: It’s OK to change your major.

Questions? Email the opinions desk at letters@cw.ua.edu.