I hate my major!

Our elder has good news: Your major is not a life sentence. 

Meet with a college counselor, speak to your professors and explore tailoring a program that sparks your interest.


Dear EWC

I’m a senior in college, and switched to my current major as a sophomore. After an extremely stressful year last year, I see the signs of an even worse one coming on this year as classes just get more and more difficult. I’ve always had good grades, so to see mine drop so steeply so quickly was jarring, and they’ve only been worse so far this semester. I get no enjoyment out of the topics in my major and have not been motivated to learn more. None of my hobbies outside of school relate to my major, and I can’t see myself enjoying a career in it. I want to be done with it, but I don’t want to feel like I’ve disappointed others and wasted money on three years of college. I can’t decide whether I should back down and focus on what I want (which would cost me more in the end and make me feel afraid of disappointing others) or stick it out despite potentially failing classes and putting myself through another year of this.


Aondreaa replies

Well, first of all, I need to remind you that any advice I give is coming from a vantage point based on my own experience, which may be pretty out-of-date from your situation as a college senior. However, it will illustrate for you that whatever major you choose, whether to continue or switch, your first years of college will not be wasted time! And, more importantly, your eventual career(s) may or may not be directly based on your major.

So, looking back, I majored in cultural anthropology, but with no intention of working in that field. I started my series of jobs as a social worker, and eventually (years later) ended up as a middle school English/Spanish teacher. Can you believe it! No one along the way ever asked my college major. My BA did act as a generic qualification, and my Spanish opened many doors, even though it was not actively utilized until much later. Still, being bilingual was a key to various job opportunities, and is one of the most valuable skills in my ‘toolkit’.

How does this apply to you? I strongly recommend that you consult with your college counseling department and placement office to see how you might be able to tailor your program into a more satisfying configuration. Perhaps an additional year of school will be necessary, but perhaps not.

You need to direct your exploration toward sources of relevant information. All anyone in my age category can do for you is emphasize that the experience of college, in whatever field, is highly significant in developing your skills and interests, and should not be disparaged. Nor should you be, for discovering your true areas of interest and ability. Declaring a major is not a life sentence. Most college freshmen have no real idea who they will become. Pressure to commit to a career can be premature.

I urge you to consult with your college guidance counselor, then approach your parents (is that who you are afraid of disappointing?) with a tentative plan in place. You might also want to talk to the professors in your most difficult classes to get their input. Most faculty members are pleased to offer advice and/or encouragement to their students.

I hope these ideas give you some hopeful direction. I wish you the best! Do not delay, because the semester/quarter is already under way!

Article #: 480850
Category: School

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