Switching majors: Learning to follow your heart
How changing directions can lead you down your right path
March 5, 2019
Switching majors seems to be every college student’s worst nightmare, but to many of those that have actually gone through the experience, they couldn’t be happier with their decision.
Though switching majors has a negative stigma, the trend is actually common on NKU’s campus.
“At least 50 percent of students switch their major,” said Joan Brummer, a music program advisor at NKU.
According to Brummer, students most commonly change majors within their first or second year, but there are still many students who don’t change their major until they’re well into their college career.
For many college students, the switch is not drastic. Senior Libby Holten’s passion for teaching did not change, but it did shift in another direction when she traded her elementary education major for one in middle grade education. Holten was a junior when two professors visited her classroom and inspired her to reevaluate her career goals.
Though Holten described the middle grades having a reputation of being the “hardest to work with,” she was moved by the professors’ words of how meaningful a teacher can be to that age group.
“My professors inspired me by showing the class how impactful adolescence can be for a person, and I felt like I could really be able to make a difference with the lives of students who are going through it,” Holten said.
While she expected to be pushed back at least a year due to how far she was in her elementary education major, Holten was relieved to find out that she would only have to take one more semester of classes.
Looking back on the experience one year later, Holten said it was easily the best decision I have made in college.” She’s looking forward to graduating in December 2019 and having a classroom of her very own.
For other students, switching majors is a final declaration of independence. Sophomore Manan Sahni was originally a business information systems major like his parents wanted, but after a year, he felt disillusioned with many of his classes.
By the end of spring semester, he was thinking of dropping out, but over the summer in his home country of India, he found his passion: filmmaking.
At first, he was going to drop out of college to become an actor, but after doing a few film shoots for people, he found that he had a natural knack for storytelling and directing. He was eager to switch his major to electronic media & broadcasting, but he first had to convince his parents that his passion was a viable career.
Sahni’s parents were initially shocked.
“When I told them, they were like, ‘are you sure you want a career in this field?’ They were worried if I would be able to make this transition,” Sahni said.
Sahni’s parents wanted him to pursue a major that was more practical and safe. Eventually, Sahni was able to convince his parents that he was determined to make a living out of his passion.
He offered some advice to students thinking of switching.
“Just listen to your heart and if you feel that that is the right major, then definitely pursue it,” Sahni said.
Holten also offered some advice for those unsure of their current major.
“No matter where you are in college, be open-minded to other programs and look into things that spark your interest if you are not happy or sure of where you are at,” Holten said. “If you want to make the switch, talk to your adviser and really look into doing it. It may just be the best choice you make; don’t look back later on in life and wonder ‘what if.’”
Brummer says NKU is supportive of the experimental period of a student’s college experience.
“We encourage students to explore areas of interest and find what their passion is,” Brummer said.
If any NKU student is thinking about switching their major, they can set up an appointment with their current advisor for further counsel and instructions on the next step.