How Changing My Major Made Me More Confident

I told myself I wanted to switch my major for my own feelings and that the idea to swtich came from my own mind. Maybe deep down I was just looking for validation that I wasn’t happy, and that validation came from other people.  

I guess I’m the kind of person who easily falls into pressure from the people around me. I got tired of being questioned for going to a “STEM school” for a “silly major like English.” I got tired of family parties where relatives would confusedly ask me what I was going to do with a degree in English and no one was ever satisfied or understanding with my answer of “I don’t know yet.” 

I especially got tired of hearing questions from Drexel alumni and other Drexel students along the lines of “oh, English? What sort of classes do you take?,” “what do the course requirements look like for English?,” and my least favorite “why did you choose English?” I got tired of people telling me that I could’ve done better if I had just majored in business or marketing or even just gone to a school where English “makes sense” to study. I’m just a burnt-out gifted kid trying to make it through college, of course I picked an easy major that let's me do the one thing I’m good at: overanalyze pieces of writing and produce an essay on why Mr. Darcy would’ve peaked on Tinder (seriously, Elizabeth could’ve done so much better). 

person standing near brown concrete wallImage Courtesy of Unsplash

 

Everyone questioned how I would earn enough money with an English degree to pay back my student loans. I started to question it too. My parents are not wealthy, and by proxy, neither am I. I’ve known pretty much since birth that I would be the one responsible for paying back my student loans. English doesn’t have that kind of money in it and while public relations probably doesn’t either, at least it satisfies the nosy relatives better than an unknown and frivolous English degree. 

I think I knew for most of my freshman year that I didn’t want to be an English major, I just didn’t know what I wanted to be. I liked the idea of being an English major (you know, books and tea and the whole aesthetic of being a cute little bookworm), but I didn’t like the actual course work and the way that the classes made me feel. 

In the Spring Quarter, I declared a minor in communication thinking that I could still be an English major but now I would have some purpose that would satisfy the barrage of questions about my future. This Fall Term, I finally took communication classes and fell in love with the curriculum. It was kind of like an ah-ha moment for me, like realizing I finally knew what I wanted. I was nervous about changing my major and the backlash I would receive for doing it. There is a person I went to high school with who is in the same major and has the same concentration that I changed to, and I was worried that they would react negatively when they found out about my decision. Similar occurrences have happened in high school, and I don’t want to relive the (un)glory days.  

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group of people inside the library

When I finally made the decision to change my major, I told everyone I just “wasn’t happy with English.” This was mostly true, as I wasn’t happy with the classes and I wasn’t happy with the reactions I got from myself and other people at the knowledge that I was an English major. As for right now, I’m certainly more confident in my choice of major and career path. I feel like I have more resources and more people to support me through my adventures as a communication major, and I no longer make up an on the spot excuse for why I chose my major the way I did when it was English. 

My piece of advice to take away from this is that it's okay to want to change your major based on how it makes you feel. For example, if you’re not happy with your classes and the course work and if you don’t feel at least a small sense of pride when you tell people your major, maybe you should consider a change. For me at least, changing my major gave me a boost of confidence I didn’t expect.