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Choose Your College Major Out of Love, Not Obligation

“You’re going to be a school psychologist.”

I swore up and down that this statement was written in the stars for me. It made perfect sense: I was obsessed with all things psychology, I was good with kids, and I loved being in school. It was a blatantly obvious dub in my book; I just needed to hammer through the biology requirements of my degree, and I’d be on track to wrapping up my undergrad years.

Then, Bio 101 happened, and I realized that I was in over my head.

Why did I ever change my major from psychology to neuroscience in the first place? Had I stayed the course with psych, I would have already been in grad school working on my Ph.D. by now. Nope! Little Miss Overachiever wanted a “challenge.” Well, now that challenge is here to fight, and I’m already admitting defeat. 

What do you do when you’re faced with “major” major regret? Do you stick it out and hope for the best, or do you scramble to make an impromptu appointment with your academic advisor? If you change your major from pre-law to English, you may start wondering about salaries and the ever-competitive job arena. Sure, you may find one major’s courses are easier than the other, but what happens after you collect your degree? Will you be stuck in call center limbo forever, or will you miraculously score your dream job? Worst yet, you may feel as though the past few years were a waste of time and money.

So, you’re faced with an ultimatum. Where do you go from here? The good news is that you’re not the first college student in history to do a complete 180° in regard to your major. It’s normal to feel uneasy about the choice you’ve made, especially when you find yourself taking a difficult prerequisite and realize the upper-level courses will just get harder from here. In order to make the next step on whether to continue with your degree plan or make adjustments, some serious soul searching needs to take place. 

CHOOSE YOUR MAJOR OUT OF LOVE, NOT OBLIGATION

So many of us fall under the spell of choosing notably difficult majors for the monetary benefits, and we need to stop that. As much as I’m intrigued by the human brain and its functions, I know I shouldn’t major in neuroscience simply because jobs specific to that degree tend to pay pretty well. And you shouldn’t major in pre-med for the same reason – we should be majoring in those fields because we have a genuine passion for them. Contradictory FYI: I absolutely stink at anything science-related. So why did I become a science major? Hello? The math is not adding up here! Don’t put yourself through academic torture because all you can see are the six figures that aren’t even guaranteed due to the saturated job market. Become a doctor because the thought of helping sick people brings joy to your heart. Lawyer on for the sake of restoring faith to disadvantaged clients. Choose your major for the right reasons.

LET YOUR MAJOR REFLECT WHO YOU ARE

If you have a passionate knack for decorating your apartment, look into majoring in interior design. If you’re a social media wizard and practically eat, drink, live, and breathe Instagram, consider a major specializing in public relations. As I said, I was a STEM major that hated science and became physically sick when I saw a math equation slightly more complex than 2+2. It’s just not adding up. But if you are good with numbers and enjoy helping people like me understand them, dabble in the field of finance. Choose something that reflects your interests and skills.

DO NOT LEAD BY WHAT OTHERS SAY OR THINK

This last one is definitely a big roadblock. For those of us with obligations set by our über-strict parents, we’ve found ourselves stuck in a major that only brings them joy – even though they’re not the ones that have to deal with huge concepts and complex formulas. Tread lightly with this one; talk it out with your parents if need be, or reach out to peers on campus that might be stuck with this dilemma. For the easier situations, like an older person telling you how useless your liberal arts degree is in the “real world,” just ignore them. Unless they’re paying for that liberal arts degree, why do they get to decide how you plan on using it? Academics already come with their challenges; do not let people make it more complicated for you. This becomes easier when you’re majoring in something you love because the negative comments will not affect you as much. 

Corporate America is intimidating enough, so why choose your major for the wrong reasons? Yeah, it “guarantees” you a hefty check every month, but at what cost? You don’t want to stay stuck in a career that makes you miserable for forty-something years because of the decision you made in your early adult life. Whatever you end up doing academically now, make sure it brings you genuine happiness. Be proud of what you’re studying, and make the most out of it. If you end up regretting your degree and you want to change career paths, you still can! You have nothing but time; spend it doing what you love. 

Jada Jones is a senior majoring in Multidisciplinary Studies with focus areas in psychology, communication, and sociology at The University of Texas at San Antonio. Her hobbies include anything beauty-related (from skincare to makeup and hair), fashion/shopping, and spending time with her girl friends! Jada has been writing since the age of 9; writing creatively has been a constant in her life for several years. Jada's favorite topics to write about center around her hobbies, as well as relationships, loving others in a hateful world, self-awareness, and self-care. If you're into personality types, Jada is an ENFP!
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