There are a lot of freak-outs that happen in college — and one of them, which happens midway through, is usually the fear that maybe you've been studying the wrong thing. There are plenty of signs that it's time to change your major that'll help you realize whether or not your panic is legit, or just a fear about impending graduation and post-college life. Yes, that's a thing — personally, I wanted to switch from communication to anthropology as a junior, but realized that in reality, I kind of just wanted to hang onto the college life a little bit longer.
When you choose your major, you're making a huge life decision. While your major might not totally define what you end up doing after school, it definitely sets the pace. If you have your heart set on being a doctor, you likely won't get there with an English degree. Education majors often have a ton of major-specific classes and time spent off campus to observe and assist classrooms — so, if you majored in philosophy but decide you want to be a teacher, you've got a lot of catching up to do. But, it's OK. Not everyone has things figured out, and while extra school is extra expensive, it's worth it if it helps lead you to the right path.
Here are a few signs that you might want to think about changing your major.
1. You hate all of your major-related classes.
This seems like it might be a no-brainer, but it's definitely the first sign that something might be wrong. If you actually dread studying your major-specific material, you'll absolutely hate the job that'll follow. If you're looking for another major, think about the type of coursework that you'll actually get excited about — something that you naturally just enjoy.
2. The classes are OK, but your grades are awful.
You like the classes, but you're just... well, you're failing hard. No matter how much you study, you just can't grasp the material and bomb all the tests. This is a subtle sign that maybe you're just not meant to hold that major — and really, that's OK. While it might be upsetting, it'll be a lot easier to switch up now than have complications and confusion about your career down the road. When your report cards improve, you'll just have some proof that you made the right choice.
3. You felt forced into declaring your major.
Your dad was a teacher, your mom was a teacher, and all of your relatives were teachers. So, from a young age, you felt a little pressured to take on "the family trade" and didn't want to disappoint your folks. If you're afraid to break the news to your family, trust me — they'll get over it in time. This is your life, and you deserve to focus on studying something that makes you happy, not just them. It's a big move to make, but it's important to take control over your own future. When they see your mood improve when you talk about your recent classes, they'll be proud that you followed your heart.
4. You're not excited about your future career path.
For a while, you were coasting on the excuse that you'd figure out your future when the time came. But the truth is, you've researched your options, and kind of hate them all. You don't even feel motivated to make contacts to ensure you'll have some leads after graduation. Hopefully this revelation happened sooner rather than later, but when it does hit, you shouldn't ignore it. Instead of trying to find a career based on your major, think about finding a major that'll support your dream career.
5. You get a feeling something isn't right, but fear change.
Changing your major isn't a walk in the park, but it's not something that's impossible to fix. The National Center for Education Statistics reports that just about 80 percent of students end up changing their major at least once. So, if you're feeling a lingering uncertainty, know that you're not the only person on campus that feels that way. Nor will you be the first, or last, person to change what was once a given. It might seem like a time-consuming project now, but filling out the paperwork and checking your credits with your academic advisement department, or the adviser in your department, will be a small hurdle in the big picture.
6. The program at your school is really, really small.
I'm talking, "only two teachers cover courses" small. While it's not the be-all end-all regarding your major, you're going to have a tough time making sure you fill all of your requirements, since classes are tougher to grab. If you don't care much for these two professors, even worse. If you're 100 percent sure of your focus, it actually may be better to switch schools. But if you're kind of on the fence, and the program isn't inspiring you to keep on trucking, you might be way happier with a whole new path.
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