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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at West Chester chapter.

Picking what you want to do for the rest of your life at the young age of 18 years old is a challenging task. After input from your family, influence from your friends, and the pressure of being successful, a first major choice can often end up being different from what your dream career is. The anxiety of changing your major can be overwhelming to the point of sticking with what you don’t want to do. 

Self Anxiety

I entered college as a nursing major and continued this study for my entire first year. I never necessarily dreamed about being a nurse, but working in healthcare sounded interesting, and my mom suggested nursing. Despite bringing up various career opportunities with the journalism major, stemming from my passion for writing, the topic of the conversation would always drift back to nursing. She was nervous that I would not be able to find a successful job in the career I wanted (which is what most parents worry about). I finally gave in and submitted all my college applications with a nursing major. 

During my first semester as a nursing student, I didn’t find myself struggling too much. Although some of my science classes were a bit more on the complicated side, it was never anything that was too much to handle. The second semester, to my surprise, was a complete 180. The courses became more difficult and less interesting; I began falling behind in classes, getting less sleep due to staying up studying all night, receiving D’s on several exams and courses, and beating myself up over all of it. My other friends in STEM majors didn’t seem to struggle as much as I was. I felt knocked down and out of place; I was able to succeed enough to be accepted to these programs, but couldn’t succeed enough to keep up with them. I knew it was time to change my major to what I wanted to do to succeed and maintain my happiness. 

I didn’t know how to go about the process of changing my major. Nobody had ever taught me how to do that, which made it feel like I was doing something that was frowned upon. I was worried that people would look down on me for switching out of nursing, despite it being best for my well being. I was worried I would regret switching my major and never being able to get back into nursing. 

Fear of Disappointment

Although I had mainly kept my desire to change my major quiet, I knew the next step to initiating my major change was to tell my family. My mom had been so enthusiastic when I got accepted into the nursing program, that I was in shambles over the simple thought of disappointing her. Similar to other kids, all I wanted to do was make my parents proud, and I was so petrified of letting that stop me from pursuing what I truly wanted to do with my life. The fear of disappointing parents stops so many people from doing what they truly want to do. According to Exploring Your Mind, other people’s opinions tend to be essential to our self-concept, and our parents’ opinions affect us the most. They state, “Some people don’t reach their life goals just because they’re too scared of not being up to par; which…may disappoint the two people they love the most”. This also leads to people choosing careers that they will not necessarily enjoy, but find financial success. Although I knew I would definitely reach financial success with a nursing career, I couldn’t escape the thought of being a sports journalist or writing for a magazine.

After contemplating for weeks how to tackle the topic, it was time to tell my parents. Upon telling my mom, she encouraged me to stick with the program until I got past the “hard” classes. At the time, she didn’t understand that they were all hard on me because they were simply uninteresting. My passion was in writing, and it took her longer than I wish it had for her to see that, although I had expected that. Despite not fully understanding my choice at the time, she was supportive nevertheless. She was always my #1 supporter, and suddenly, I didn’t understand why I was so anxious about telling her before. 


From first contemplation to hitting the submit button, it took me about two months total to complete changing my major. My anxiety may have delayed the process, but it led me to realize there are people and faculty willing to help you, who care about your success within education. At the end of the day, you should do what will make YOU happy, and surround yourself with people that offer you support and direction. You are not living your life to please others, but instead to please yourself. Take it from me: Don’t let your anxiety and fear of disappointment stop you from creating your happiness. Life goes on and time will pass.

Brooke Darst

West Chester '26

Brooke Darst is a Communications major with a minor in Journalism at West Chester University. With interests in sports, mental health, entertainment, and the arts, she hopes to spark conversations and spread her ideas through writing.