Major Decisions: Knowing When to Change Your Degree

When is it time to make a decision on moving forward or possibly changing a major? Does a moment come when we really have had enough of something that is making us unhappy?

For me, I had spent most of my working life doing hard labor jobs such as washing dishes, landscaping and mill work. It never occurred to me that college could be another way to be successful until I lost my job at the mill and was out of work for six months.

I needed to be doing something with my life, so I decided to go to college and get an education. Try to better myself.

After looking at all my options, I decided to go in the nursing field figuring that nurses would be needed and that I would get a 2 year degree and get into the work force relatively quickly. Pressure from friends also led to my choice of major.

In the spring of 2010, I enrolled in the pre-nursing program to get my A.A.O.T degree to fulfill pre-requisites to be certified as a registered nurse.  After the decision of major was complete, everything seemed to fall in place easier. Most importantly, there was a clear path for me to follow.

Like many students before me, I registered for my classes such as Math 10, Writing 95, Psy 101 and basketball. My first term went well, so I followed up consecutive terms to complete my math and writing pre-req’s. 

Everything was going according to schedule until the winter of 2012 when it came to picking out my classes. Perplexed on what to choose because everything I had to pick from seemed very complex, I ended up enrolling in Anatomy and Physiology, Sociology, plus a couple other filler classes.

Something happened to me. I started turning in my homework late or last moment and ended up being stressed out most of the time. Then an idea hit me that empowered me to change. The reason I was negligent in my studies was because the passion for my major was no longer present. I also realized that I was registering for less credits simply because I didn’t like the major anymore. (I also realized that I like red gummy bears and get rid of the green ones, but that’s for another story.)

The decision to change my major started to loom in the back of my mind. Since I had put so much time and energy into becoming an RN, though, what about all that wasted time?  And what was I going to do for a major?   Anatomy and Physiology had helped to make things clearer by showing me that I’m not into nursing. The thought of getting a bad grade was upsetting and humbling, but I decided to do something about it instead of whining. I decided to change my major and dropped the classes.

I am not the only one. According to Rio Hondo College, “50 [to] 70% of students change their majors at least once. Most will change majors at least three times before they graduate.”

 We have only so much time in life and to spend it persuing a field that you are not passionate about makes each day harder to live, so I implore students to change their major if they are unhappy with the present one.

The Mainstream is a student publication of Umpqua Community College.