I recently switched my major to English. I'm slightly behind, I'm stressed out, but I still think it's the right choice for me. I've wanted to write since I was eleven-years-old, and I had been convinced since then that it was something I could never do for a living. I went into college thinking I wanted to be a nurse, but that wasn't my passion, and anyone that's going to school for nursing can tell you that you have to be passionate about it to get through those classes. My Biology classes bored me, I never wanted to study, I was failing, I was stressed, and above all, I was so unhappy. When I decided to switch into English I was so excited, I felt like everything in my life had finally clicked. I knew what I was passionate about, I knew what I wanted to do, but I quickly felt deflated when I told my family. My desire to change majors was met with pessimism and a bombardment of questions. I love my family, and I know they love me and only want what is best for me, but sometimes that is slightly misguided. Here's a list of things I'm sick of hearing and defending, and I'm sure I'm not the only one.
1. "The only thing you can do with that is teach!"
Not true! Sure, teaching is something that you can totally do with an English major, and it's honestly such an honorable thing to do. It takes a very special person to be able to teach children, and I'm not one of them. There are a TON of things you can do with an English Major, and those things are expanded even further by a minor, or two.
Personally, I want to be a Literary Agent, and I want to be an Author. Those are things I've always been interested in, and I think it will be a great match for me. People with English majors can also be Ghost Writers, Technical Writers, Editors, Journalists, work in Publishing, the list goes on.
It all depends on how you market yourself. Every job is looking for an employee who can communicate well, and who can do they better than an English major?
2. "You're going to be poor your entire life!"
Maybe, but I could also be wildly successful. It depends on the person, their passion, and their drive. I'm willing to do what it takes to make myself successful, and I think that's what matters. Sure, having money is nice, it's what makes the world go round, but it's not everything, and it certainly isn't the sole measurement of success or happiness in a person's life.
3. "Why don't you just write as a hobby?"
Because it's one of the only things that make me happy, and I want to turn that passion into a career. If I wanted to turn a passion for helping people into a career in medicine, I wouldn't be hearing this question.
4. "I want you do what makes you happy, but..."
But? If you really want me to be happy you won't add stipulations, and what made you happy might not make me happy. I don't want to spend all of this money for a degree to work in a career I will hate for my entire life. I get one chance at life, and I'm going to spend it how I want, not how anyone else wants me to.
5. "Well, I hope you marry rich."
I don't plan on ever being entirely dependent on my spouse, whoever that ends up being. Hoping for someone to be financially dependent on a partner is like wishing for them to be stuck. Those who are financially dependent on another person has no choice but to stay, even if they're unhappy. I wouldn't wish that on anyone. Also, contrary to what society would have you think, I don't want to be a housewife, and I don't want to be a stay-at-home mom. I don't know many women who do. I want to work for everything I get. I want to have earned it.
6. "Are you sure you thought this through?"
Probably not! I'm nineteen, I'm sure that there are variables that I haven't accounted for, and I'm sure there will be hurdles in life that I can't anticipate. That's life though! I'm sure I won't be happy in my job every single day, there will be ruts, there will be tough times, and I might think that maybe this wasn't a good idea.
However, I can't prepare for any of that.
The only thing I can do to try and build the life I want and to do what I think will make me the happiest, and this is how I plan on getting there.
Everyone in college is expected to pick a path for themselves, to try and decide what they want to do for the rest of their lives, and that's such a daunting task. The best we can do is find what we're passionate about and stick with it. It will eventually guide us to what we want to do, even if those around us don't agree with it, and that's okay.
It's your life, and ultimately, you have the final say in everything that you do during it.