Confessions of a Newly-Minted 5th Year English Major

When it comes to college, deciding on the major you want is often something that we all struggle with. Questions we might ask ourselves include: “What is it that I want to spend the rest of my life doing? What if I pick one major and I hate it? What if I can’t study what I want to because there aren’t any jobs for it? What could I even do with my major?”

Pondering the answers to these questions is something that keeps me up at night. Uncertainty, indecision, and anxiety are the Achilles’ heel of every college student. Lacking in confidence or surety can be utterly paralyzing at this stage of life. But now, to avoid throwing out every cliché in the book, I’ll explain why I’m writing about this.

I am a 5th year senior, and last week, I changed my major.

Specifically, I switched from being an anthropology major to an English major. Those who know me would know that, when it comes to academic programs, I’m a little on the ~somewhat insane~ side. I have two majors, and three minors. So, in a way, you could argue that my decision to change my major seems a little bit superficial—I already have another major in history that’s entirely finished. But if I’m being honest, making this last-minute decision was one of the most difficult, yet most rewarding decisions of my life.

I’ve been an anthropology student since I first started at Kutztown University. When I first walked into Dr. Kim Shively’s ANT 010 class on cultural anthropology my freshman year, I didn’t know what to expect. I've since had seven classes with Dr. Shively, and I can say that she is, without a doubt, my academic mentor in all things. I'm only five classes away from having an anthropology major.

So, you see, I’ve been quite invested in the anthropology major. Changing it was no small thing. Yet I knew that I needed to do it.

I’ve known for years now that I want to be a college professor someday. Teaching, tutoring, and really just helping others to learn are three things that fulfill me more than almost anything else. That’s why working as a tutor at the Kutztown University Writing Center remains my absolute favorite thing to do, even after two years working there. Working at the Writing Center is what showed me that I loved teaching, and more importantly, that I loved teaching writing.

If I had to summarize all of my academic work into one category, I would tell you that I study the written voices of others. In history, I listen to the stories of the past through the voices of those who wrote it down. In anthropology, I listen to the stories of life and culture through the voices of those who are willing to share. In English, I listen to the stories of those who have stories to tell.

English lets me bring everything I’ve done together, and it is why I made this major change. It is why, now that I’m beginning to apply to graduate schools, I've decided that English and literature are the programs that I’ll be looking for.

So to those who are still uncertain, or those who worry that it’s too late, I want to say, I understand you. I understand what you’re feeling. I’ve been there. And it’s going to be okay. Some people might tell you that you need to know exactly what you’re going to do forever right now. I’m telling you that things change, but that as long as you work your hardest and do what you love, you’ll be alright. If you hate your major, change it! And finally, don’t let ANYONE tell you that your degree is useless. You’ve already made it this far. You’ve had the opportunity to be in college and to use it to shape your life. So let me tell you, as long as you persevere, as long as you work your hardest, as long as you give life your all—and, most importantly by far, as long as you believe in yourself, you will succeed at whatever major you choose.

I promise.