Changing Your Major Can Be Terrifying- But It Is So Worth It

Changing your major can be scary, really scary. For me, it started when I realized I could not remember the last time I was happy to learn something in class, the last time I was excited for school, or even the last time I did not dread going to school. Nursing school is hard, I knew it would be going in. But I did not think it would be so draining, I did not think it would take so much of me away. I was constantly asking myself “am I supposed to be this unhappy?” Then Winter Break of my Sophomore year came, and I was hit with such a feeling of relief, I was actually happy again. Some of that happiness came from the fact that I was not in class, but a lot of it came from the fact that I was no longer dreading something. Then classes started again and that feeling of dread hit me like a truck. I continued to ask myself “am I supposed to feel like this?”

Finally I realized no, I am not supposed to dread going to classes all the time and I am not supposed to dread going to clinicals. So, I set up a meeting, and then another meeting, and another, and one more for good measure with different Deans in different departments, different professors that knew me well, and I started “shopping around” for a new major. I had been focused on nursing full time since I was a junior in High School, and I did not know who I was outside of this small section of the medical field. Suddenly, I was looking into things not in the field of science. I felt like a fish out of water. Was I interested in the humanities? Since when? After three meetings with different Deans and two weeks of barely paying attention in my nursing classes, I took the plunge and I changed my major. Half way through my sophomore year, and two weeks into the new semester. 

Now it was not all smooth sailing from there, I constantly felt lost. Departing the comfort of the familiar faces in my nursing classes and entering classrooms where I knew no one was far from comfortable, and I felt like I had made a mistake. Then I had two weeks of class work and readings to catch up on, and I really felt like I had made a mistake. Soon after, I had my first set of assignments, and I realized I had no idea what I was doing. I went from learning how to write patient charts and historys and memorizing medications to having to write essays about political science, more specifically, how conflicts play a role in politics, whatever the heck that means. So, not only did I not know anyone, I was faced with the constant reminder that I felt like I had no idea what I was doing. But I wrote my essay, then I wrote another one, and another. Then I was registering for classes, and was excited about the options I had. It had finally hit me, in the middle of the stress that comes with class registration and midterms, I was excited about school again. I was excited for all the new opportunities that had opened up for me, and I finally felt like all the stress and anxiety I had experienced before was worth it.

A little further down the road, I still have no idea what I want to do with my life. Going from a nursing school path where you are guaranteed a good career after graduation to one where your options are pretty much endless is extremely daunting– but can be so exciting. I am so much happier with myself and so much more eager to learn. While not every aspect is fun, for example, I am using this article to procrastinate writing an essay that I really do not want to write about a few readings I have yet to do; but it is worth every assignment I don’t necessarily want to start, and reminds me that putting my happiness first is no mistake.