Why Is Changing Majors So Scary

The past few weeks I’ve had a mid-life crisis. I didn’t think it would come this early, as I’m only 19 years of age. But this semester has just not been it, and it’s all fallen onto these last few weeks. 

I’ve decided to completely change my major. It’s a 180 flip… and it’s terrifying and thrilling at the same time. My major currently is Behavioral Neuroscience in Pre-Med, and I’ve decided to double major in Business with Global and International Studies instead. I’m going from STEM to the other side of the spectrum with business.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

My whole life I feel like all I’ve done is STEM. Chemistry and Biology have been my life for years with AP classes. I didn’t really have an interest in anything specific that would make a good career, so I had no idea what to major in. My parents and I figured I did well in STEM classes in high school, so why don’t I just go into that? But was that really what I wanted to do with the rest of my life? I honestly didn’t really think so, but on the other hand, I had no idea what else I would have done. 

I want to be set up to make a lot of money and do something amazing for the community. During high school, it seemed like the only option if a woman wanted to be a future-looking, money-making, life-saving person was to go into STEM. So many people from my high school went into pre-med, and at the time, being as lost as I was, I figured it might be the best thing to do. 

My first year of college has been a whirlwind of emotions. Not only am I experiencing my first year of college with harder classes, but they are also online as well during a pandemic. My mental health probably isn’t where I need it to be, but I’m using other techniques to cope. My intense chemistry, biology, and psychology courses are taking their toll, and honestly, the only thing keeping me together is TikTok and the updates of my shows. 

woman sitting in front of Macbook Photo by energepic.com from Pexels

But these last two weeks, I’ve reached my limits. It was a Wednesday night, I had just taken a biology quiz and was going on two hours into my nightly chemistry study when I realized: I do not want to do this for the rest of my life. I could not imagine working in a lab or becoming a doctor or just taking STEM classes for the rest of college. It just didn’t seem like me anymore. I felt burnt out, in a subject that I didn’t even really express a passion for anyways. I had already done an amazing internship during the summer for physics, but it helped me realized that lab work isn’t really for me. STEM classes aren’t difficult for me either, but I was done. I want to do something other than STEM classes and as a career possibility. I needed to explore other options, see what else is out there. 

I want to travel and explore the world! I love to write and express my thoughts to others! I love to draw and color! I want to possibly teach in another country! I love to create and make videos! Maybe I can own my own business or become a successful CEO who works in New York! There are literally so many things that I love to do, and I realized that I have the ability to do them.

I realized that college is the time to explore other careers and take new classes that help me explore. It’s a time for me to find what I want to do. I think it’s absolutely crazy that teens are supposed to know what they want to do for the rest of their life at the age of 18. It’s a big, crazy commitment. One that could bring happiness or sadness, money or none at all, a satisfying life, or one filled with guilt. It’s like the question of if happiness or money is more important. How am I suppose to know this early into my life? I want both! I’m so jealous of people who just have a sense of who they are and what they want to do. It honestly surprised me how many people I met who already were so determined on the career they want.

But on the other hand, I was even more shocked to find out how many people also didn’t know what they wanted as a career. There were so many people who have also changed their majors, some multiple times. I'm not alone, and it’s a relief. 

It’s scary changing my major. There’s a guarantee that I could find a good-paying job if I stay in STEM. It’s a future with women in the field after all. But changing to a whole new major, one I don’t know as much about, it’s less of a guarantee, and I’m scared.

I’m scared I won’t find a job that pays as well as STEM will. I’m scared that in the future that I will struggle still with finding a satisfying career. I’m scared I will hate my new major, despite its appeal on the KU website. What if I need to change again? 

But in the end, I’m happy with my decision! I’m so excited about next year with my new classes and all the possibilities that will come with it! I’m so excited I can take other classes other than STEM, and hopefully find who I am beside the girl who does hours and hours of chemistry a night! I’m excited to take classes in business and design and marketing! I’m taking a language class and am able to pick a regional issue I’m passionate about! I’ve never felt this much relief ever! And I think that outways all my worries about the future for now. 

I keep telling myself that it’s normal for people to change their majors. I’m sure there have been millions of students in the past who have also changed, who have then gone on to have a happy, successful life. There are so many people who don’t even go to college and are still able to live a good life. 

Why is it so scary to change? I know it’s normal, but I feel like it’s not something people talk about enough, especially as a tip for freshmen. As a freshman myself, it feels like my life is completely changing. But at the end of the day, it’s not the end of the world. Every day will come and go just like normal. There will be twists and turns, bumps and hiccups, but life will go on. In 10 years, I’ll be 29, way into my career at that point. I can push through. And it’s up to me to make the changes that I feel are necessary for my happiness and career possibilities. 

I think it should be more normal to talk about uncertainty. It should be a normal conversation or given advice from upperclassmen and other past students about their experiences. It might help lower stress and anxiety from those who don’t know what they want to do with their life. So many people feel the same, so why isn’t it talked about more? So here I am, telling my story. It’s the start of my journey. Maybe I’ll write a follow-up article in a few years, telling where I am on my college path later.

My whole life has been STEM, and with the new change to Business with Global and International Studies, it’s a big step in my college career. I hope this is the right decision, but in my heart, I feel like it is. I know there is more to me that I can discover, and college is the place to do that! I’m ready for the next step in my life!