What am I doing? Did I choose the right major? These were some of the thoughts running through my head as I sat in a marketing class freshman year. I came to Northwestern four years ago as a public relations major, confident of my choice. I loved the creative side of PR, but when my professor started talking about the business side of it and even sprinkled in some finance and math-related elements, it didn’t click. I didn’t feel that joy I got from writing articles. I didn’t want to pursue a career in a field I wasn’t completely passionate about.
So I did the dreaded thing most freshman fear to do: I changed my major.
But it’s okay! I survived and I’m here to assure you that changing majors is not a scary experience.
In high school, I wanted to be a writer. Then, a teacher. The list continued with wedding planner, interior designer, chef, etc. As I started thinking more seriously about college, I was set on majoring in journalism and graphic design. These plans changed, though, when I came to campus for a tour.
I vividly remember walking through the art building, listening to Scorza, the graphic design professor, explain the different elements of the major. Being a graphic design major means you’re an art major with a graphic design emphasis. This meant I would have to take drawing, painting, sculpture and ceramics classes, to name a few, along with the graphic design classes. At that time, I did not feel confident enough with those artistic skills to pursue the major.
I decided to ditch the art major and focus on writing. Though my heart was with journalism, I was encouraged to pursue PR, so I declared it as my major and began my college career.
Like I mentioned earlier, I quickly discovered the major was not for me. I also had included writing and rhetoric as a minor, and that style of writing was clashing with the journalistic style I was passionate about. So there I was, a freshman wrapping up the first semester of college, realizing the major and minor I had been so proud to declare were not what I actually wanted.
Thankfully, Northwestern’s advisors are INCREDIBLE and the process couldn’t have been easier. I set up a meeting and voila! I changed to my beloved journalism major; I even surprised myself by adding the graphic design major as well.
The point is, major changes are completely normal. You’re asked to declare a major, to make a decision that will affect the rest of your life right out of high school. People change, dreams change, and majors change. Some students stay with their major(s) for their entire college career. Others jump around, testing out different options.
Freshman year is the perfect time to experiment with majors. If you’re undecided coming in, Northwestern puts together a schedule of classes that fit some of your interests. If you change your mind and want to switch, your adviser helps you adjust and if you change departments, you’re given a new adviser who will help you succeed in your new major.
You’ve probably been hearing how college is the best time of your life. As cliché as this sounds, it can be fantastic, especially if you find a major you love. Don’t be afraid to test the waters in different departments. The college also has great resources for choosing majors, so take advantage of them! Finding a major that is right for you is a choice you won’t regret.