When I was in high school, I decided that I was going to major in economics in college. I had my whole life planned out: economics degree, law school and doing corporate law. The day I graduated high school, I was dead-set on these aspirations and I didn't think I would change my mind about any of it. I scoffed when I found out that the majority of people change their major at least once throughout their college career. How could someone not have the next four years of his or her life planned out with certainty? The idea was completely foreign to me. I was never going to change my mind about my major, and I am here to say that everything worked out according to plan.
Ha! Just kidding. If everything had gone as expected, this post would be a lot shorter. When I registered for the fall, I changed my major to international studies. Two months later, I changed it to computer science. A month later, I changed it to economics and international studies. Two weeks later I changed it to sustainability studies and economics. A month later, I am currently majoring in linguistics and French. Catch my drift? Within the course of six months, I changed my major -- count it -- five times.
Does that make me any less of a committed academic? Of course not! So why have I and so many other people changed majors? Simple. We are adapting to our newfound freedom. The idea that students have the intellectual freedom to learn essentially anything that they want can be overwhelming. We have the ability to forge our own professional direction, and the thought itself can be terrifying. Do I major in something that I think will get me a good job? Do I major in something that I am passionate about? This question can be difficult to answer. With the current state of the economy, it might seem wise in the short term to choose a major based on whether or not the student thinks that major will later provide financial stability. However, it is also important to think about the long-term effects of choosing a major. Can I see myself working in this field for the rest of my life? Is this something that I actually enjoy? Thoughts like these make it hard to decide what we want to learn, which is why most students change their major at least once.
Don't get me wrong; not everyone changes majors in college. It is highly likely that people will, but not everyone does. Regardless, college is about finding what courses or majors interest the student the most and using that knowledge to make the most of the higher education experience. Changing majors is not a big deal. Who knows? Maybe I will set a personal record and do it again.
Follow Corinne Futch on Twitter: www.twitter.com/corinnefutch