So, you’ve discovered that your major is not for you. There are lots of different ways you might have arrived at this decision – maybe an internship pointed it out or none of the classes have clicked with you. There’s a window of time in college where you can try as many majors as you want, but what if it’s too late and you can’t switch?
If you’ve discovered late in the game that you hate your major, it’s not the end of the world. There’s plenty you can do to work your way into the field that you want, and the good news is, you often gain more experience from your out-of-class activities than any class could teach you.
1. Join a club in the field you’re interested in
If there’s a club related to your field of interest or a group that can enhance skills you won’t learn in your classes, nothing can stop you from joining them. PRSSA, Ad Club and Happy Valley Communications are communications organizations that accept all majors. The Daily Collegian has opportunities for business and journalism experience. And who says a bio major can’t join a THON Finance committee? If it’s too late to officially transfer into another field of study, there’s ways around it so you can still get experience while on campus.
2. Pick a minor (or multiple) in a completely different subject
If you have a demanding schedule and can’t pick up a second major, you can minor in one or more subjects that are completely different from your primary major. You can be an engineering major minoring in journalism, or a finance major minoring in philosophy. Tacking on minors in different areas of study will be a good asset on your resume if you’re looking to enter a different field from the one you’re majoring in.
3. Build skills in other areas
Learn Photoshop, start writing or make an art portfolio. There are an unlimited amount of skills that you can pick up, both in and out of a class. Employers will care more about your abilities and the skills you have rather than what you learned in a classroom, and a variety of skills in different areas will make you a valuable candidate for any job.
4. Take as many different classes as you can
If there’s not enough room in your schedule for a minor, try to just add classes or audit them to learn something new. Even just one intro class can create an interest and teach you something new. You won’t immediately become an expert, but at least on an interview or while networking you can discuss a new subject or show that even while your major doesn’t match the job/internship you’re looking for, you’ve tried to learn about something different.
5. Apply to internships
Companies know that interns are starting out with almost zero know-how. Even when they hire a college student in their field, they are expecting to teach them from scratch – that’s good news for someone in a completely different major. Try applying for an internship or internship program that lets you work in another field. Don’t be held back by the fact that you’re not in the correct major; people switch fields all the time in the workforce, you’re just starting early. You likely have just as much knowledge and experience as someone in the major, who would also be learning on the job.
6. Tell your advisor, and see what they can do
Your advisors are there to help you, not just tell you which classes you need to take. Make an appointment with them and let them know what’s going on. This might seem counterintuitive since they specialize in the field you want to get out of, but they can still offer their advice and wisdom and could help you in unexpected ways. They could also be the bridge that leads you to someone new who can help you more than your current advisor.
7. Start networking
It’s never too early to build a network, especially if you’re trying to work your way into a field relatively late in your college career. Attend networking panels and events, go to career fairs and alumni events on campus. Chances are, professionals will be impressed if you’ve made efforts to stand out, especially after having studied another subject for years. Meeting people and making connections can only help you!
At the end of the day, your major doesn’t define you – your work ethic and dedication does. So even if you hate your major, there’s a lot you can do to forge a path that takes you somewhere else. While on the job hunt, the people you meet and talk to will remember your hard work more than what you studied.