How Changing My Major Was The Best Decision I Made

"Switching majors". It's almost like Voldemort, you just don’t want to even say it out loud. It’s scary, it's hard work, but it might not be the worst thing ever…

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If you had met me a year ago, I would have introduced myself exactly like this: “Hello! My name is Lizzy, I’m a nursing major with a softball scholarship at a small college in the middle of Kansas.” Oh, what a year changes.

I grew up always thinking I’d work well in the medical field. I loved hospitals, I loved watching the tv shows (ER, not Grey's Anatomy), and I loved the idea of having a secure job right out of college. I didn’t ever factor in that I was never good at math and science or that I could never actually see myself being a nurse. The thing is, once I got to college and got a D on my first test, in the easiest science course I’d have in my academic path, things started to go downhill. Quickly. I was excelling in my history class that I took for fun, my critical writing professor constantly sent me emails about how she thought I had a talent for writing, but my biology and math professors had to hand me back my tests with a sympathetic cringe. I felt dumb, like something was wrong with me.

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One time I told my mother that I aced my History of Civilization exam, and she looked at me and asked, “Are you sure you want to be a nurse?”. My whole world turned upside down. How dare my mother question the authenticity of the love I had for a profession that I could not, for the love of God, picture myself actually doing when I graduated. Who, in her right mind, did she think she was? Excuuse me? I remember the feeling of denial course through my body as I simply replied with, “Yeah mom, duh.” (Teenage angst. This is also massive foreshadowing, if you couldn’t already tell. Thanks Mom, sorry I shattered the glass picture frame in the entry way when I was twelve. Love you.)

After several revelations at my previous school and a torn shoulder, I transferred to KU. I walked into orientation with Nursing Major attached to my information. I looked at the school catalogue and all those communication, media, and journalism courses excited me to no end. My previous year I was only able to choose one class to my liking. (Nursing school pretty much has your first two years of school completely scheduled out for you. And your last two. How nice of them.) It didn’t help that the nursing school at KU is very competitive, requiring almost a definite 4.0 to be considered. That D on my first biology exam really secured the bag on my rejection. (Thanks Mitosis, you got me one last time.)

To make a long freakin’ story short, I walked out of orientation and enrollment with a giant UNDECLARED on my bio. It was the best feeling. I was soon enrolled in American studies, communications, and journalism classes. Looking at my schedule excited me to no end. I had never anticipated my classes as much as I did in that moment.

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After doing extensive research, I settled on Strategic Communications. Strategic. Communications. Communicating. Mrs. Carter, my second-grade teacher who gave me a yellow card multiple times because I couldn’t shut up, would agree that a communications route would be quintessentially superb for my being. (I got quintessential correct on the spelling bee that year, my first-place ribbon is hanging around the neck of my stuffed Perry the Platypus at my house. Embarrassing.)

The biggest relief I have ever felt has been levitating around me for weeks. I know what I’m doing. For real. I can see myself in my future now, doing something that I love. With nursing, I was in love with the job security, not the job. A nurse should be able to watch Dr. Pimple Popper without wanting to hurl the vanilla mocha frappe they just chugged. Nurses are incredible people who hold a certain type of responsibility that I, myself, am not meant to carry. I noticed that I am happier than I ever was previously just because I realized what I really want to be. I did a complete Tony Hawk-style 180, (is he still relevant? I’m name dropping him anyway), but I still ended up on my feet. And it’s the best feeling in the world. 

In the end, I know a lot of us are terrified at the idea of switching majors. Believe me, I was. But if something doesn't feel right, chances are, they aren't right. Your body knows you better than you even know yourself. Don't take it personal, take it to heart and put that heart toward something you're really passionate about. Don't be in love with the salary, or the security, because you're going to be miserable if you base your career over something so turbulent. The world changes very often, and if you're going to change, adapt while you're doing something you love.