How I Discovered I Had Found the Right College Major

When I swung by my favorite professor’s office hours last semester to have the How did you know this was the right fit for you? talk, I didn’t get the answer I was looking for. I got an honest answer, but it was one that I didn’t believe at the time: you kinda just fall into the right major. For a firm believer in free will, that kind of declaration just left too much up to the universe to decide.

I started college as an English major. I had actually wanted to pursue journalism, but I thought English was more versatile. My mom really wanted me to take Chinese, so I could learn Mandarin and be more autonomous when I visited Shanghai with family. I tried, but when it didn’t work out, my mom changed her recommendation to accounting, but Questrom prerequisites are too real. We landed on Intro to Microeconomics, EC101.

It was a pretty interesting class. I think the lecture was pretty engaging, but it was a T/Th one, so sometimes I would doze off a little, but that’s not because supply & demand are boring. I loved that there was no homework— the only grades were exams, and for someone who had always been able to pull off cramming the night before, I was happy with that. And the cramming was even easier because somehow, all the material was intuitive for me.

By spring semester, I had added a major: Psychology. I was registered to take two psych classes— personality and social— and I remembered loving AP in high school. Plus, a lot of people in English double-majored, so why not? I was also going to take EC102, Intro to Macroeconomics, because...it’s a sequence? Path of least resistance, I guess.

I did not like EC102 one bit, but it was one of my more effortless classes, so I was compelled to register for EC201 for the upcoming semester. By then, I had declared a minor in economics, because I didn’t really understand the concept of sunk costs and I thought it’d be a waste to have taken two econ classes and have them go towards nothing.

My EC201 class was the first class I had taken in my life that made me feel like a real student. A big part of that was due to the instructor, of course, and his ability to make me care about calculus? A lot of firsts happened for me that semester: first time going to office hours, first C on a homework, first time taking an exam where I couldn’t answer any of the questions completely,...

After that class, I was pretty convinced economics was my thing. I changed my major again, keeping psychology but switching econ to a major and English to a minor. Everything felt so right. EC201 was supposed to be the hardest, most painful class in all of BU economics, but I did it and earned an A and actually really enjoyed it??

Coming off that I-finally-figured-my-life-out high, I registered for three econ classes this semester. And then things began to unravel.

I had midterm exams for two of them on the same day, and I absolutely bombed both. And I was definitely subscribed to the idea that the right major is one that you’re actually good at, so it killed me that I had underperformed. I went to talk to five different econ professors in the month after (maybe a little excessive, in hindsight), and the takeaway was that I shouldn’t panic and drop the major.

I knew I still liked econ— what’s not to like? For me, it was the perfect social science. I was still really interested in psychology, and econ is really just the psychology of firms and consumers, and I loved that. I also had never lost the middle school Mathlete version of me, who got discouraged when she wasn’t getting straight A’s in calculus but had never really hated math the way a lot of people do. And economics was definitely more math than most social science majors would’ve bargained for— partial derivatives? Lagrangians? But for someone who (foolishly) took Calc II freshman year just because it felt weird to not take a math class for the first year ever, it was perfect.

Right now, I’m still working to salvage my grades in my econ classes. I don’t know how COVID-19 and Zoom will impact them yet, but all I can do is put in extra work to make sure I understand my mistakes and try to not get stuck in a cycle of discouragement because of a disappointing letter grade. During spring break, I was stuck at home, so I took the time to rewrite lecture notes for the last seven lectures because after I had gotten my midterm back, I shut down and straight-up stopped taking notes during class (would not recommend).

Psychology, on the other hand, is and always has been easy and enjoyable. Even when I was taking more bio-related courses, I had never struggled the way I struggle in economics sometimes. I think, as a result, economics feels a lot more rewarding.

Anna Schultz-Girl On Computer In Bed Anna Schultz / Her Campus There’s a quote about marriage that says something along the lines of love takes commitment and constant work. It might seem dramatic to apply that to your college major, but for me, it’s been a comforting thought. Not only is it okay that my econ classes are no longer easy and intuitive, but it’s more likely that this is the right fit for me because I find myself having to put in the work and still liking it.

I hope you’re all able to find the perfect major for you. And keep in mind that bombing the occasional exam or not being the best in a certain subject doesn’t mean it wasn’t meant for you.

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