So you want to change your major? Welcome to the club! If you’re feeling nervous–don’t. Most students will change their majors at least once, and sometimes even five times, before graduating. I changed my major three times before the end of my freshman year. The decision to switch was incredibly stressful and I was filled with anxiety at the thought that I would be disappointing the people around me. Where I had once claimed I would be a doctor in psychology by the time I was thirty, I now said I would be a book publisher in my early twenties. I am a first generation college student, the standards are high for me, but I couldn’t let the need to appease people stop me from being happy. You’re young and not knowing how you want to spend the rest of your life is perfectly okay. If you have decided to make the switch, here are the necessary steps to get you there:
1. Discuss your feelings with friends and family
Your friends and family know you better than anyone, talk to them about how you’re feeling and why you want to switch. Get their opinions but do not let them make the decision for you. This is about you and your life and this is ultimately up to you. I cannot tell you the amount of times my dad discouraged me from my original major, Psychology, explaining that he didn’t think it was right for me. Was he right? Ultimately, yes; but I took my time figuring that out and deciding for myself. If you are that person who is attempting to follow in your parents footsteps and take up their career, that is perfectly fine, as long as it is what you want. Otherwise, you may want to tell them that you’d rather write for broadway than be a lawyer. Having their support will make you more comfortable in your decision and may help you in this transition.
2. Pick your new major
The options are endless here; FSU not only has several different college but several different majors and subtopics within each one. There are more majors than ice cream flavors at Ben and Jerry’s. Determining your specific specialization is the most important aspect. If you want to do become a science major, are you interested in biochemistry, meteorology, marine biology, computational science, etc.? First of all, kudos to you, science is hard. Second of all, this specification is important because it will be targeting different areas of science, one of which you may hate, and another you could love. For a list of majors and colleges at FSU, follow this link.
3. Talk to an advisor
This is not the advisor of the college you are currently a part of, this is the advisor for the college you are going to be going into. Talking to an advisor does not mean that you have to make a decision immediately but they could provide you with the information you need to assist you in your decision. It’s possible that hearing the classes and requirements for the major could steer you away from it. In this meeting you can find out where you would begin, what is required of you, examples of classes you would be taking, and even what kind of jobs could result from this major. Personally, my advisor for the English department (my current major) is a psychologist, it felt like a sign when she told me she couldn’t believe I hadn’t become an English major sooner. Plus, depending on where you are at currently with your requirements and year in college, you could be adding a couple more semesters to your expected graduation date, which is ultimately beneficial to know. This is also important for students who may have been looking to graduate early. FSU does offer a program called Degree in Three, in which students can graduate in three years or less. I am a part of this program and I had about one year to finish my requirements before I had to make my decision. This is not meant to rush your decision but educate it. If you are unsure, this program may not be right for you. As my advisor tells me, “Take advantage of the full four years.”
Once you have thought about it enough, it is time to fill out the paperwork and make it official. That’s right, that means another pit stop at your local advising office. The paperwork consists of signing off on the major you would like to begin in that particular college, then the advisor signs it. After that, depending on how quickly the advisor puts it into the computer, it can take a few business days to reflect the new major on your account. Only once you see it on your account can your advisor begin helping you enroll in the classes you need to begin taking. Congratulations, you’re a whole new person–sort of, but it will feel that way.
5. Pick your classes
I don’t know about you, but enrolling in classes is just about the most fun, and yet, annoying puzzle ever. Picking out your classes can be exciting with all the potential new topics you can learn about. However, trying to get them on the days and times that you want, makes it a tedious game of making random pieces fit together. Since you are new to your major, what do you think I am going to recommend? That’s right, advising. This should be the last time this semester, don’t worry. Your advisor will be able to guide you on where to begin and what classes may suit your schedule best. It is also important to note that it is best to change your major before enrollment for the new semester begins. This will give you an adequate amount of time to finish paperwork and receive advising for your new classes next semester.
Bonus Tip: Knowing when to switch
Despite all of this, some of you may still be wondering how to know if you should change your major. It could be that you just don’t like your classes this semester or you’re having self-doubt about your future success. Maybe the decision itself is just daunting. However, I believe that you know when it feels like you are no longer interested. I don’t mean that your classes are boring, most of them aren’t going to be exciting. It is a feeling telling you that you couldn’t see yourself doing this everyday for the rest of your working life.