Mid-Degree Crisis

Having serious doubts about your future in the middle of your bachelor's degree is a lot less glamorous than when you are middle aged. You should expect a lot less sports cars and one-night-stands, and a lot more crying over student debt. 

In all seriousness, having second thoughts about your career choices in your early twenties is a very common phenomenon. Take it from a girl who thought she had her whole life figured out down to her dream school and career from the age of 14. Things change when you least expect it, and that can include yourself. If your goals and dreams change from those you had in highschool, don’t panic.

This summer, I had serious doubts about my degree in media and legitimately considered becoming a lawyer. This thought completely and utterly terrified me. I am the person who has always taken comfort in planning things out and sticking to them. But, believe me, trusting that voice that I had been pushing down, and taking the leap of faith of truly researching my options was the most liberating experience I have ever had. If you are having second thoughts about your major or career path, it is very important to know that you are not alone. For this article, I’ve talked to students that have made the change of switching programs, and have collected their stories and thoughts about the switch.

Jacob graduated highschool with a passion for learning and academia, but had little knowledge with regard to what inspired him. This is what led him to attending the University of Toronto’s math program. He chose this degree because he knew he was great at math, and the choice felt comfortable. However, soon after starting his undergrad, he realized that he was barely passing the same classes he used to ace in high school. This led him to reconsider what he was truly interested in. He did a lot of soul searching, and after a lot of reflection, Jacob determined that he had always had a passion for media, but no time to pursue it while he was fully enrolled at U of T. This epiphany led Jacob to enrolling in Ryeron’s Media Production program. 

Here’s Jacob’s advice to students who are debating switching programs:

  • Talk to other people about your feelings so you feel less alone. Making such a huge decision can easily make anyone feel isolated. That is why it is so important to get other perspectives. 

  • Make sure you are making the right decision for you and you alone. Picking which program you attend for university should be something that is for you, not a choice to satisfy your parents or friends. 

  • Don’t do something just because you are good at it. Pursuing something that makes you want to work harder and learn more will help you in the long run.

  • Know that whichever program you choose it will be hard sometimes. There is no easy degree. Being happy and passionate about your program is what will make you want to pursue it and push through those late nights that come with every program. 

Mike is also a media student at Ryerson University. He switched into it after being in sociology for one year. Mike chose his initial program because he knew he wanted to go to Ryerson, but he wasn't quite sure what he wanted to do yet. He quickly realized through a friend he made while attending Ryerson, that he was actually interested in media creation. He saw other students thriving in the Media Production program, and wanted to be one of those students, This is what led him to switching programs. 

Here is his advice to students who are debating switching programs:

  • Always follow your passions; if you are doing something you want to do, it will take you more places because you will be driven 
  • Research the program you are interested in switching to; Mike took media classes as open credits in his first year. This helped him make his final decision and even gave him the added advantage of making connections along the way.
  • Don’t be scared about losing time, because ultimately it is better to have a degree in something you truly want to pursue. 

Both Mike and Jacob were very happy with their choice of switching programs and career paths. However, this decision isn’t always necessary for everyone. For example, I considered becoming a lawyer. That career path is very flexible because you can attend law school with any bachelor’s degree. When I was first thinking about the possibility, I was too scared to look into it. I felt this massive amount of fear and isolation because the last thing I wanted to do was start over. 

In retrospect, I’m so happy that I did the research and listened to myself, because I realized that I can pursue that career after I graduate if I am still interested. Through this research, I created lessons and schedules that would help me achieve that career goal. For me, planning and organizing helped sort through my emotions and turn them into productive and concrete plans of action. 

I encourage anyone who is feeling the way I did to: 

a) listen to yourself 

b) give yourself permission to explore different areas of your personality

Having second thoughts about your future is truly a blessing in disguise, because it means you really care about your career and have high aspirations. Just know that at the end of the day, everyone in post secondary school is just as lost and confused as you are. You are never alone.