Why I Decided to Switch Majors in One Day

by Abbey Edmonson 

It was beautiful day.  The temperature was at a perfect 75 degrees, and there was a slight breeze.  There I was, chilling on the front porch of my sorority house, when, despite the calming conditions I found myself in, all of the thoughts that I’ve been pushing to the back of my head suddenly pressed down on me with immense force.  

For weeks, maybe even months, a tiny voice kept needling at me.  I felt uneasy about my future, my aspirations, and, specifically, my major.  I was an English major; my plan was to get out of college with an English degree and either get my masters or go to law school.  I chose English because I’ve always been drawn to reading and writing, especially when the reading and writing pertained to fiction.  However, I wasn’t completely sure how to turn that hobby into a realistic career.  Yes, there are publishing jobs out there, but they are few and far between.  And, usually, you have to start at the very bottom of the totem pole and work your way up.  

I didn’t have a solid plan.  My thought was that I’d eventually find some publishing company and work for them.  There was no structure to my time or my goals.  All I had to do was take a bunch of English classes that focused on all of the different time periods that English and literature has existed.  To someone who loves literature, I should’ve been excited.  However, something didn’t feel right.  I didn’t feel excitement when I imagined the classes that I would be taking during the next three years.  Yes, there were certain classes that I was enthusiastic about, such as 20 and 21st century literature, but there were also large chunks of classes that I would have to take that I was less than thrilled about, such as Medieval studies.  Something didn’t feel right about the fact that I was almost dreading taking classes for my major.

I also hadn’t chosen a minor yet.  Originally, I thought I might try an Art History minor because I enjoyed it a lot in high school.  Turns out, the only reason I liked it so much in high school was because I had an amazing and engaging teacher.  After taking an art history course at Ole Miss, I still understood and appreciated it, but I didn’t enjoy it as much.  

Next, I thought I’d do an art minor.  That idea didn’t last more than a week.  After asking around and looking further into what an art minor would truly require, I realized I had neither the time nor passion to take on that work.  With this self discovery, I was lost.  I didn’t get excited when I thought about my major, and I had no clue what I wanted for my minor.  Being a freshman, there wasn’t an immense pressure to immediately figure my life out, but I knew that the pressure would only grow as I advanced in my college career.

So there I was, my head flooding with these thoughts on that seemingly perfect day, when I looked into the requirements for a journalism major.  I was involved with journalism outlets at my high school, but I’d never considered it anything more than a hobby.  After looking into it, I realized that all of the basic requirements for a journalism major were the same for an English major.  If I made the switch, I wouldn’t have wasted any of the credits that I’d accumulated.  And then I started looking at the different classes that I would have to take.  The classes were super diverse and actually interesting to me!  I could take classes like photojournalism or editing, and I actually really wanted to.  I suddenly felt a spark of excitement.  What I thought was just a fun extracurricular activity in high school could actually be turned into a successful career.  Also, I could easily keep an English minor, and I could just focus on the English classes that were interesting to me.  Therefore, within the span of about 3 hours, I’d decided to completely change my path and switch majors.  I hadn’t thought seriously about doing anything drastic like that until that day.  

If you have that same looming feeling, and you keep pretending like it’s not there, it will eventually overwhelm you no matter how much you push it away.  Don’t feel pressured to have it all figured out right off the bat.  I was stubborn, and I didn’t want to admit that maybe I’d made a mistake when I originally chose my major.  In the words of the wise and talented pop star, Hannah Montana, “Everybody makes mistakes.”  Live and learn.  Be adaptable.  Listen to what your conscience tells you, and accept the fact that you can get lost along the way.