Why I'm Grateful I Changed My Major

Most of us begin dreaming about the life we’ll have before college has even started. I’d wanted to be in the art and design world my entire life, that was my big plan. Although the exact career path would change over time, I always knew that I’d be an art major of some sorts and make a career out of it. I remember taking my first tour of the College of Arts and Humanities at UCF during my senior year of high school and thinking this is it, this is where I want to be. However, after a year and a half of trying to make it work, my dreams came crashing down around me and I felt more lost than ever before. For those that have been there, you know that there can be a lot of guilt that surrounds changing your major. Not only do you have to face all the reasons that it didn’t work, but then you have to tell everyone around you and relive that pain. I didn’t see it then, but now a year later I’ve realized that there are a lot of things I’m grateful to have experienced throughout my time as a Graphic Design major.

1. I Found Out What I Liked and What I Didnt

I had this image in my head of what my life would be like as an art major. Going to the studio, taking drawing, painting, and digital media classes. I had an unrealistic expectation of what those classes would be like, and in the end, it wasn’t what I was expecting… like, AT ALL. It was hard work, and I quickly realized that drawing “when I felt like it” was a WHOLE LOT different than doing it every day for hours on end. Suddenly spending 8+ hours in the studio wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. I hated it… and that should’ve been my first clue that I was on the wrong path. However, a semester later I took 2D Design, and fell in love with painting, something I had never tried before. The class was everything that I had needed at the time. I found a hobby that helps me calm down and de-stress, and for that I’m grateful.2. Being Critiqued

Something I had never experienced before becoming a Graphic Design major was being critiqued. I just about had a heart attack during the first week of class when the professor made us turn our easels into a circle and went one by one asking the class how they felt about each individuals work. What I learned? Being critiqued is hard! I heard it all, whether it was sloppy, lacked passion, or the worst of all…that I hadn’t put enough time into it.  However, with the negative also comes the positive. There is nothing like the feeling of a professor or entire classroom of like-minded students enjoying, and complementing your work, and being able to experience that is invaluable.

3. I Learned to Fail

On the first day of class when your professor spouts off some statistic about how many of you won’t make it to graduation day, we all think “That won’t be me,” or “I’ll be the one that makes it.” But the truth is, statistics don’t lie, and there’s probably a larger probability that you won’t make it than you realize. When I first considered changing my major, I felt like biggest failure in the world. I had wasted time, money, and had no plan on what to do next. But, what I hadn’t realized was that the very decision I thought was “ruining my life” was actually me finally doing something right.  

4. I Learned to Not Judge the Process

Before I came to college, I always heard stories of friends or family that changed their majors, or didn’t know what they wanted to study and I always thought “I’m never going to be like that.” I knew what I wanted, and couldn’t imagine someone going to college not knowing, or changing their mind halfway through. I thought I had it all laid out in front of me, but what I hadn’t considered was that college is the first time you are putting your dreams into action. College is your first real taste of what your future career is going to be, and it’s OK to realize that it wasn’t what you expected. At the end of the day, don’t judge anyone’s process, including your own. Experiencing different things can only make you more certain of the path you want to take.

5. I Got to Start Over

There is nothing like the feeling of a new beginning. After having my mini life crisis, came an enlightenment period. I began to rethink everything I had ever planned for myself. I sat down in front of the list of every major offered at UCF and went through the pros and cons of almost every single one. I no longer felt confined by the previous restrictions I had put on myself, like that I wasn’t good at math or science. I had never tried to be good at those things, because I didn’t think I needed to. I reflected on what I enjoyed before I became a Graphic Design major. I could be anything, so I knew when I did choose a major, it would be wholeheartedly what I wanted to do.

While some may want a picture-perfect path to follow, and believe me sometimes I wish I had that, I’m grateful for the experiences brought to me from my time as a Graphic Design major. They are things that I otherwise would’ve probably never experience, and for that I’m grateful.