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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UPR chapter.

Today, we will talk about the dreaded Major Change. I know it’s something a lot of people look down on, which turns what’s already a hard decision into an ordeal, but switching majors is not something to fear. It’s actually a lot more common than people might think

When I first applied to college in my senior year of high school, I wasn’t totally sure what I wanted to do with my life. Like many people, I chose a STEM career because it’s one of the most “popular” fields of study. You know the TikToks and Instagram posts that go on and on about how great STEM is and how it’s the best way to find a high paying job once you graduate? Well, I admit they persuaded me a little. And the fact that throughout high school the majors that were mostly promoted were pre-med and engineering, didn’t help either. So, I chose to go the engineering route. 

I did well in my first year of classes, even got all A’s, but I wasn’t happy. Still, I let my overachieving self continue down that road because I thought changing careers was like quitting. The constant studying and tears weren’t bad for me, they were just part of the struggle! 

I let myself be persuaded by what I thought other people would think of me. “She couldn’t cut it in STEM” I thought they would say. When I finally let myself consider changing my field of study, I was a nervous wreck. I constantly worried about what my family would say, what my classmates would think, and even what my old high school friends would gossip about. With time, however, I’ve discovered a little secret I will now let you in on: Literally no one cares

“What you do with your life is yours to decide, because at the end of the day you’re the one who has to live with your decisions. Never make a decision solely based on other people, much less on hypotheticals of what you imagine they might say or think.”

And yes, I know it’s scary. Scary to wonder whether you made the right choice or not. Constantly questioning yourself. But you know what? It gets better. And if you don’t like your first choice, go for a second one. If you don’t like the second one, go for a third. You’re young and you have the rest of your life to consider. You don’t need to have everything figured out. I found that things slowly start falling into place as time goes on, so just let time do its thing and be brave enough to take a chance. 

So, now that we’ve talked about making the switch, let’s get into some of the signs that are indicating that you might secretly want to change majors:

  1. Do you see yourself working in that career in the long term? 

Do you have doubts whether you can see yourself making a career out of what you’re studying? I couldn’t see myself being an engineer, no matter how hard I tried. One day, when I finally started to consider changing my major, I decided to ask my friends and family what they thought. I discovered no one saw me being an engineer either; it didn’t make sense to them. When they revealed this to me, I was devastated at first because I thought they were underestimating me. After talking it through, they explained that they knew I could do it, if I wanted to, but they didn’t think the career choice fit me. So if you’re questioning your career choice, my suggestion is this: ask the people around you what they think. The ones that truly know you and care about you. This may be a sibling, a best friend, or even a parent. Ask them what field they see you in and, depending on their answer, start exploring those fields. Sometimes we close ourselves into this tiny box of options that is entirely self imposed and we just need someone to open that door to other possibilities. 

2. Are you googling other careers?

When I started contemplating other careers, I did a deep dive into Google and Reddit forums. I read about other people’s experiences and I did all those short Buzzfeed quizzes, which reveal what you’re supposed to study. I took personality tests and a plethora of other things. So if you’re doing this, then it’s definitely a sign to consider whether you’re happy with your current choice. 

3. Are you happy going to class?

Do your classes excite you? Do they make you want to study more, practice more, learn more about your field? If they don’t, then maybe you’re not where you’re supposed to be. That’s not to say that every single class should excite you and motivate you, because there are some classes that are really just a huge pain to get through and that’s not a realistic expectation, but if this feeling follows you into every single class, then it might be time to reconsider. 

4. Is your chosen field playing into your strengths or weaknesses?  

Nothing good ever comes easy, that’s true, but we should also acknowledge that everyone has different strengths and weaknesses. So, is your career choice playing into your strengths? Maybe you’re in classes that are heavy on math, but you really struggle with math and excel in interpersonal communications and caring for others. Or maybe the opposite is true. Either way, take these things into consideration when contemplating whether your career choice is right for you. 

Everyone’s journey in life is different. I started out as an engineering major when I went out to college, and now here I am, an English education major. If you’re reading this, it’s probably because you’ve started questioning some things, and know that that’s okay. As many as 50 to 75% of all undergraduate students change majors at least one time before earning a degree. So make sure you’re patient with yourself and take the time to listen to yourself and the people that you truly trust. And, if the signs above sound like you, be brave enough to take a leap. I promise things get better on the other side.

Karla Perez is an undergraduate student at the University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras Campus. She's studying English Education. When she isn't studying or working, you can find her reading the latest Colleen Hoover book, writing, or laying beneath a palm tree on a beach contemplating her life decisions.