Switching Your Major Freshman Year Is Totally OK

I'm A College Freshman And, Yes, I Changed My Major

Because who really knows what they want at 18, right?

225
views

In the fall of your senior year of high school, you begin the stress of filling out college applications. You fill out pages about your background, high school classes, extracurriculars, essays, and then you stumble onto the drop-down box titled "Major." For most people, this is where the panic hits. You think to yourself, "What do I want to do for the rest of my life?"

Some people know automatically. Maybe they want to go Pre-Med, so they major in Biology, Chem, Neuroscience, etc. Maybe they want to go into a specific business field like Accounting, Finance, or Actuarial Science. Some people know exactly what they want to do in their future career, but most people don't.

You always hear, "Don't get a tattoo when you're 18 because you might regret it," yet you're basically expected to decide your career before you're 20 years old.

I had no idea what career I wanted to go into when choosing my major during my senior year, so I chose a major that I was interested in — Philosophy.

"Have fun working at McDonald's" is something no one actually said to me, but I could tell that when I told them my major their thoughts were somewhere in that vicinity. My dad thought that I was making a huge mistake and wasting my potential by going for that major. I encouraged him to research the skills learned during, and the average salary of, the Philosophy major. He realized that it was a great major! A philosophy student learns critical thinking, analysis, and strong writing skills, which are valuable to all careers.

I was excited.

Like I said before, Philosophy was something that I was super interested in and I was excited to take classes for it in college. My plan was to double major with Marketing and get a certificate (comparable to a Minor) in Spanish.

When I attended one of the Future Badgers orientations, my plan was thrown a little off track.

I learned that UW-Madison does not offer a certificate in Spanish for non-Business majors. In addition, I learned that you had to apply and be accepted into the School of Business in order to major in Marketing, and the School of Business at UW-Madison is extremely competitive and difficult to get into when you're not a direct admit. The school I did apply to was the Honors College of Letters & Science for Philosophy.

I was upset when I realized that I had messed up. By not knowing that I had to directly apply to the business school, I had missed out on the opportunity to follow one of my possible career paths. I thought, "Well it's okay, I really like Philosophy so I can find another major to pair with that and I'll be good!"

You might be thinking, "Why Philosophy in the first place though?" Well, the truth is that I was interested in Philosophy because I struggled with finding meaning in life, happiness, and sometimes existence (don't we all?). I knew that Philosophy was a subject that explored those concepts, so I figured that I could find my answers there.

In reality, the various ideas of what meaning in life and happiness were just made me mad. Why are these people telling me what MY meaning in life is? What should make ME happy? I realized that only I could determine my meaning, find my own happiness, and use both of those to calm my thoughts about existence. In philosophical terms, I fall into the category of a subjectivist (take a Philosophy class to find out what that means!!).

I didn't want to hear other people's theories because I had finally figured mine out. By the second semester of my freshman year, I realized that I no longer wanted to major in Philosophy.

I went into college strongly believing that I wouldn't be one of those students who changed their major, even though I was repeatedly told that many students do and it's okay. See, I'm the type of person who likes to stick to her plan at all costs, so the thought of having to create a whole new plan put me into full-blown panic mode.

Since I decided against the Philosophy major, I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do with my life, and therefore I didn't know what classes to take for the next semester.

I frantically began researching other degrees within the College of Letters & Science, and nothing really stood out to me. I panicked when thinking that I might never find a major that I'm truly dedicated to. I took a step back, realized that I still had about a month until I had to schedule, and then set my quarter-life crisis aside for a while.

After spring break, I was getting closer to having to schedule fall classes, and I knew that I had to figure my plan out.

I thought about what I liked to do, and writing instantly came to mind. I mean, I've been writing for Odyssey for a while so I've not only had more experience, but I've also increased my love of writing. Whenever I tell people that I write for Odyssey, they ask me, "Are you a Journalism major?" and I've always said no, but now I'm thinking yes.

I decided to look into the Journalism program here at UW-Madison, and found out that there is a Strategic Communications track which focuses on advertising, PR, and marketing. Writing and marketing? Perfect! I finally figured out my plan: Major in Strategic Communications with a Certificate in Business. I get to combine my love of writing and my interest in the marketing career field.

What I learned from all of this is that it's okay to not know your major, to make mistakes, to not know what you want to do for a career, and to change your whole path. Focus on doing what you love and don't be afraid if things don't work out how you expected them to.

My favorite way to look at life is that every wrong turn is an opportunity.

Popular Right Now

21 Things You Say To Your Roommate If You Two Are Practically A Married Couple

Until I made this list, I didn't realize how absurdly close my roommate and I were. #sorrynotsorry
156071
views

Let's be real: you and your roommate have said these things at least one to each other.

1. "Can you turn the light off?"

2. "We probably shouldn't go out for dinner again...right?"

*Complains about not having money* *Spends $8 on Chipotle three times a week*

3. "I always pick where we go"

This is a fight you have with your roommate almost every day when you're roommate is as indecisive as mine.

4. "Do you have my keys?"

5. "Can you pick me up?"

6. "Is it hot in here?"

7. "Does this outfit look stupid?"

The answer is usually yes. No offense.

8. "Can you throw this out for me?"

9. "Can we get ice cream?"

10. "I need coffee."

This text is usually sent when you know your roomie is out running errands... errands you know are near a Starbucks.

11. "Can you tell me what happened?"

12. "Are you asleep?"

There have been times where I couldn't tell if you were asleep or dead... and I had to say this out loud to check if you were alive.

13. "Check your DM's."

*Cracks up in the middle of nowhere* *Catches a weird stare from your roomie across the room*

14. "Can you plug this in for me?"

15. "Can you pick a movie?"

Another instance where "I always pick" happens.

16. "Look at this girl's Instagram."

*Chucks phone across the room at roommate*

17. "Can you call me?"

18. "Can we meet up?"

19. "Can you help me find my phone?"

*Tries to leave the house to do something* *Loses phone* Every. Time.

20. "What should we do tonight?"

*Tries to get ready to do something fun* *Ends up staying in for another girls' night*

21. "Why isn't everyone as great as us?"

Giphy

Cover Image Credit: Juliarose Genuardi

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

10 Tips To Prepare For Your Freshman Year Of College

Tips and tricks for college freshman year.

210
views

Obviously, I am not an expert on college life yet, being that I am only a high school senior. Barely hanging on these last couple weeks of school. I have been preparing for my freshman year of college since the start of my senior year. It is an overwhelming, stressful process and it takes a lot of preparation and time to get it all done. I wanted to give some tips and advice on how I started my process and how I have gotten through it. Starting a new chapter can be really scary, especially if you have no idea what you are doing, I am the oldest sibling in my family, and I am the first to go through this crazy process called college. Though I was uncertain exactly what I needed to do and how to do it, I figured it out and here's how I did it.

1. Have a planner

This is going to be your best friend. It helps you keep your life organized (or at least it makes you feel like you do) and assures you that you meet deadlines. Since I can remember I have always used a planner and it helps me so much. I wouldn't know what to do without it. I have all the dates for when things need to be turned in- like housing and such, and also I have up to when classes start next fall. A planner is so helpful and would recommend getting one if you don't have one already.

2. Talk to friends about their experience

This has honestly been one of the top life savors. I have gotten so much advice from my friends that are in college and they give me the inside scoop and what to do and what not to do.

3. Do your research

Research the school, research clubs and activities that you may be interested in. Get familiar with what is on and off campus.

4. Visit the campus

Photo by Olivia Holler

I am lucky enough that I am only an hour and a half away from campus and it doesn't take long to get there so I just go when I feel like it. But visiting and being on campus several times defiantly has made me feel more comfortable and more at ease than I would be if I had not visited at all.

5. Embrace times with friends and family

Photo By Olivia Holler

This is the last summer with you In your house as a full time member. Embrace it! Be with your friends and family as much as you can. You are going to miss them just as much as you are going to miss them.

6. Start doing things on your own

I am already pretty independent but I struggled like starting to make my own dinners because I have been fortunate enough where my parent always took care of dinner. But now they are making me responsible for making my own dinner. Which was a really tough life altering thing for me. It may not seem like it but it was for me. But start doing your own laundry. making your own dinner, getting things yourself etc.

7. Make list

This and my planner have been my saving grace. If I didn't have it there was going to be no progress on the thing called college.

8. Manage your time

This is pretty self explanatory, there is a lot to do during the college process. Be sure not to procrastinate and know when things are due so you can get everything on time.

9. Take summer classes if needed

If you know you are going to be behind in a class, take some summer classes. For example, I am a little behind in math, and I have to take all the way up to college algebra in order to graduate college. Well, I knew I didn't want to take math all four years of college and I knew I was behind. So I am taking some summer courses to not only finish with math earlier but just to be ahead of the game.

10.  Gather everything you need for college!

Make sure you have everything you need for the big day. Set apart some days before move in day to take time and pack whatever you may need so you don't forget anything.

Related Content

Facebook Comments