Constantly second guessing whether you're on the right path can be one of the most stressful experiences in college. No matter their major, a lot of college students think to themselves, "What am I doing with my life?" They're young, and the path may not seem clear. Even worse, they began a path when they were eighteen, and in a year or two later, realize it was completely wrong for them.
I've been there. I changed my major to something completely different at the end of my sophomore year, postponing my graduation date another two years. While I hate that I went into my junior year basically a freshman, I've never, ever missed my old major.
College is hard. Your mental health is always at higher risk. We always get overwhelmed. But if you find yourself constantly having mental breakdowns, it's time for you to protect your sanity and make a change. Before I changed my major, I found myself dreading doing work, putting it off until last possible minute. Of course, we've all put off homework, but I felt like the work was sucking my soul out. I would beat myself up during my downtime thinking, "You should be working right now." Everyone procrastinates. But if you find your work is depressing instead of fulfilling, that's more than a red flag. Your college experience and all your life are supposed to be so much more than constantly feeling tired, burnt out husk.
2. You dread thinking about the future.
A little trepidation is normal, but soul-crushing fear isn't. If you find thinking about the future to be a slippery slope that leads to a mental breakdown at four in the morning, consider a new career path. We all ask ourselves questions like: Do I have what it takes? Can I get my dream job? Will I make it? That's normal. But overall, your career path should excite you! You should be excited to think about starting your life and be focused on getting that dream job. However, if you feel dreadful and directionless, it's time to make a plan, and focus on the steps it takes the getting there.
3. You aren't the same person you were when you chose it.
18-22 is a confusing age. You're still a kid somewhat, your parents might still help you out, but now you're thinking about adult things like budgeting and your career. You're networking with people that might have a long-term effect on your career, or meeting friends that could be there for life (or not). We find our adult selves and change from the people we were in high school. If you choose your major when you were 18 based on a hobby or interest you had then, but don't have anymore, you're gonna want to pick something more relevant to your interests as an adult. Maybe you picked out a job that could support a family, but now that you're older, you find you don't want kids. Now, you don't have to pick something based on its flexible hours. When considering whether your major is still right for you, consider the person you were when you first choose it, and why you chose it.
4. Your employment outlook is poor.
Every career field is different. Some basically guarantee a job upon graduation, others not so much. When changing your major, do not only consider the objective statistics, but also consider the kind of person you are. If your field is very competitive, are you a competitive person? Do you thrive or crumble in competitive environments? Are the jobs concentrated in the city? Can you move to the city? Do even want to? What if you're a film major that hates LA or Creative Writing major that hates NY? What are your skills? Are they relevant to your field? If not, what fields are they relevant to? What's the projected growth for your major in the next ten years? Consider future employment.
5. Your major doesn't support your current goals.
In college, you're likely to take a wide variety of classes on a variety of subjects, and you're likely to take on a variety of activities within the realm of your major. What you learn in these classes might change your long-term life goals. For example, you may become a tutor, and decide you want to be a teacher. However, as it is, you won't graduate with the certification to teach. You may be a graphic design major, taking a coding class, and decide you want to be a computer programmer. However, no one will hire you with a graphic design degree. You may do study abroad, or take a foreign language, and then decide you want to live in that country. However, they don't have jobs in your current field. You might want to change to something international or hospitality related instead. Situations like this are ideal for a major change. Tailor your coursework to what those employers want.
6. You are not passionate about the subject.
This is the most important thing. If you are not passionate about the subject, change your major. Putting all your energy into something that doesn't fulfill you will just make you miserable. However, if you are passionate about the subject, then think twice before you change, even for some of the reasons I stated above. Statistics shouldn't stop you from pursuing what your dream. If you're feeling depressed or overwhelmed by your workload, you shouldn't allow the draining college grind to take away what you love. Consider taking fewer classes to lighten your workload if you feel your mental health is at risk. If you love writing, don't let having to write a ten-page essay on a boring novel make you think you don't like writing. Make free time, and use it to write about what you love. Don't let deadlines can make you feel you aren't passionate about what you love. If you are passionate, you weather any obstacle. If you aren't, find something you are passionate about, or something related to it.