The April Advice Column: Switching Majors

I feel like we are all told in high school that college will be so much easier and so much more fun.  At least that was the case for me, so when I first started school at NYU, everything came raining down on me.  I’m not talking about the workload though, not at all, that I can deal with; I am talking about the emotional difficulty in which college puts you through.  Now, I’m not saying this to be negative in anyway.  I love college and wouldn’t trade my life for anyone’s, but I do have to tell you that freshman year is a big discovery period for many students.  This year has changed me a lot and that is what I want to discuss with you (through tip format), the topic of changing majors.

1.     It is Ok:  So often we are told to focus on one thing, but guess what… we’re human.  We have lots of different interests and that is a-ok.  Figuring out exactly what you want to study takes time because, honestly, many of us haven’t even had a focus in what we first declare our major in; for me that was acting.  I was never formally trained except for a few acting camps here and there and I knew it was something I loved to do.  None of this prepared me for what conservatory acting school would be like.  It wasn’t for me, but I realize and understand now that it’s ok to feel that way.  It is okay to switch majors and no one should tell you otherwise.

2.     Think About It:  When it comes to switching majors, you really need to think about it for a long time.  I’m talking like a month or two, just so you are sure.  I took an entire semester to think about things and was able to make a clear decision this semester to drop out of acting school.  First semester gave me a chance to really understand what I liked and didn’t like about acting school, and ultimately gave me a good basis for my decision this semester.

3.     Do Your Research:  Similar to taking time on your decision, you should also do extensive research on your other options.  Go in to your advisor with a game plan and ask for help where you need it.  By giving yourself a good understanding of your other options you can better make a decision to switch majors.

4.     Talk About It:  Before you switch, you should discuss it with a) your parents b) your advisor, which is mandatory anyway, and c) your friends, but only if you really need their input.  Getting someone else’s opinion on your choice to switch majors can really help you figure out what to do.  I talked extensively to my friends (sorry mom and dad) before I switched my major because I knew they would help me figure out what was right for me, even if that meant me leaving studio. 

Ultimately, you need to decide what is best for you regardless of what anyone, even your parents, thinks about your decision.  Switching majors is definitely not something you should do willy-nilly (I know people that have and trust me it has not fared well for them), but changing your mind happens and I am here to tell you that it is totally okay and NORMAL!  Follow your heart and great things will happen.