Want to Change Your Major? Read This First.
I am one year into my college career, and one year away from declaring a major. This past year, I have taken almost exclusively humanities classes with the intent of being an Art History major, but now I’ve decided that I don’t want to be an Art History major anymore. Even though I really like Art History. Now I think I might major in neuroscience, go on to law school, and become a patent lawyer. (No promises, though.) Yeah, I’m surprised too. Thank goodness I’m at a liberal arts school, where it’s relatively easy to change things up.
There are several reasons you might not like your major anymore. You may not know of any jobs you want pertaining to your field (my problem; there are like three jobs that pertain to art history total), you may be frustrated with your classes (my problem; Art History profs/readings can be stuffy and arrogant, to say the least), or you may just not like the subject (not my problem. Who wouldn’t like looking at pretty pictures?). Time for a reevaluation.
Step 1. Explore new majors and careers. Find what we will call a New Idea. In my case, this happened almost against my will. I had a long discussion/dispute with one of my parent’s friends, who asserted that I would be a good lawyer. Naturally, my mind jumped to Law and Order SVU, and I insisted that I would rather keep my moral standards. Then she mentioned Patent Law. These people help inventors patent their product. How cool would it be to constantly see breaking edge technology? So cool, that’s what.
Step 2. Dig a little deeper. Now that you realize that you aren’t actually stuck in your track (hopefully), and in fact are able to maneuver, try to pinpoint what is appealing about your New Idea, and how it fits into your strengths and weaknesses. From there, you can explore similar majors and careers. A tip: don’t dismiss an entire field until you’ve read a couple course descriptions, and seen if any are appealing. (I thought I wouldn't like Physics until I found a class about the structure of the universe.) I like Patent Law because I wouldn’t go to court (I am of the non-argumentative type), and I would get to work with INVENTORS, of all people. And as we all know, inventors generally resemble Dick Van Dyke in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. To go to law school, a lot of people major in Political Science, but according to some people I’ve spoken to, a science major is good for patent law. Despite popular belief, I’m not too shabby at science, so I’m thinking neuroscience (a nice little combination of psych, chem., and an art class or two!), or general science (jack of all trades, master of none).
Step 3. Is this feasibly possible? You would probably think that this step would come a little earlier, but if you DUG A LITTLE DEEPER LIKE I TOLD YOU TO, then you’ll be ok. You’ll have found alternate, but similar, tracks that are possible. Who knows if I’ll be able to afford law school, or fit enough credits in for a freaking science major (I’m still a bit bemused that I am thinking favorably about that)? So my backup plan is an education license (just a couple extra classes from a general science major). So I could teach high schoolers. Yay!
Step 4. Get your butt in gear. You/I probably have to change your/my classes and advisor, so you/I should get next semester’s schedule set up. Email whoever you have to, especially your grandma, telling her that you’ve finally found a useful career, and you won’t end up a deadbeat begging for money.
Ginger’s Song of the Week: I’ve been listening to a lot of blues lately. This is both a magnificent piece of guitar work, and a pretty decent PSA warning against the dangers of alcoholism.
Are you thinking of changing your major? What do you think of Ginger's plans?
Related post: Life According to Ginger: Help Me Choose a Major!