What I Learned From Changing My Major Four Times

I’m a fickle person. It takes me ages to choose what to wear to a party, which shade of lipstick to buy, or which movie to watch on Netflix. I’ve had this problem as long as I can remember, and although it was frustrating to brood over two tops that look exactly the same whenever I go shopping, it’s never actually posed a threat to me. But all that changed when I came to college. Suddenly, I found myself stressing over things that took my friends less than an hour to decide. I grew nervous and anxious every time I had to make a major decision, especially registering for classes for the next semester. But, the one thing that sapped me of my energy during the first two years of college was my major.

Girl studying surrounded by plants Photo by Alina Vilchenko from Pexels I came to college as a computer science major. To be honest, I chose it without giving it much thought. My entire family came from an IT background, so it seemed natural to follow in their footsteps. But when I got to college, I suddenly realized that computer science wasn’t my calling at all. Far from it, really. I’d taken a coding class in high school, and while it had been fun messing around with the code to make a love calculator program, it wasn’t something I saw myself making a living from. So I immediately dropped all my CS courses and instead declared myself— you guessed it—undeclared. I spent freshman year taking courses I thought I’d be interested in, like economics, Korean language, and communication.

In the spring semester of my freshman year, I decided that I would major in advertising and minor in business. It seemed like a good combination. I liked the creative flexibility that BU’s College of Communication gave me, and Questrom taught me more of the hardcore business skills, like how to give a formal business presentation and compile Excel sheets. But in addition to being fickle, I was also a chronic overthinker. Will this be enough to get me to where I want to be professionally? This was the question that haunted my dreams every night. Somehow, for some reason, I felt that I wasn’t learning enough. Ever since high school, I always complained about how there was no emphasis on creativity in my academics, but now that I’d finally gotten it, I felt like I was missing those analytical subjects I used to so despise in school.

And so, on the eve of my registration for the next semester’s classes, I sat down on my bed and promptly had a meltdown. So many questions were plaguing my mind, and so many voices were pulling me in different directions. If I wanted to major in business, I had to completely change my academic plan. But I didn’t want to let go of advertising either, because I truly enjoyed those subjects. There was only one solution: switch it up. I decided to major in business and minor in advertising.

group of people reading and studying together at a table Photo by Alexis Brown from Unsplash The only thing I remember about the next semester was the Questrom building. I ate, slept, and basically spent every waking moment in the Questrom building. Plus, I could see a sea of difference between the way classes were structured at COM and Questrom: whereas COM subjects allowed you to interpret homework assignments and projects freely, Questrom expected you to stay strictly within the box that the class’s guidelines put you in. In fact, a team actually lost points on their group project for being too creative in a Questrom class I took last semester. The academic environments were so at odds with each other, as was the general student body attitude when it came to classes and interacting with each other. Once again, the balance was off. I felt dissatisfied with what I was doing. 

So, it was then that I decided to pursue a dual degree in business and advertising. I wasn’t willing to compromise on either side, so it made sense to do both. Of course, this meant even bigger changes to my academic schedule. Since I’d made the decision to double major so late, in the spring semester of my sophomore year, I had to push my graduation date beyond May 2022. I thought long and hard about if I’d be willing to stay back an extra summer term after my senior year, and I decided that it was worth it.

This rollercoaster of deciding what to study taught me a lot. I learned that it’s always better to make major decisions early, and to seek advice from mentors and professors when making decisions related to your academic path. I also learned that I can’t achieve what I want to achieve without putting in some hard work. This is the first time I’m overloading, and that one extra class has made my schedule so cramped that I barely have time to breathe— and the fact that I’m taking online classes this semester doesn’t help. But I also learned that if you truly want to do something, it’s not going to feel like hard work.

All that matters is your willingness to put in the extra effort!

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