The big question: “Should I change my major?”

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One question seemed to crop up with all my friends in University at some point or another. Whether they had spent one semester or seven, there was always a moment in insecurity whether they had chosen the right academic path.

The first time I heard about this problem of indecision was right before I left the job that I had all through high school. I was heading to university in a few weeks and all the older staff members had plenty of advice to share. “I changed majors four times,” one of the librarians told me as she was scanning someone’s library card. “Finally I had to graduate so I just picked something. I still don’t know that I made the right choice.”

That certainly wasn’t comforting, as I was heading into a program I knew little to nothing about. I was starting the theatre studies program at Guelph, and though I had taken plenty of media courses, theatre was completely foreign to me. I was friends with some kids who were in the school play, but that was about it.

After a semester of theatre classes I quickly figured out that I was in the wrong program. I liked the field trips to see local performances and the brief lectures about ancient Greek plays, but I couldn’t get my head around the modern scripts and performance art. I sat in my dorm room and tried to think of what I could possibly do that would be enjoyable for my next semester.

I remembered my high school history teacher, and how much fun he had made studying ancient history. He let us use the classroom at lunch times to watch HBO’s Rome and we spent more time studying the Imperial period than anything else that year. A little googling and a few emails later I was meeting with the head of the Classics department, and he enrolled me in all the right courses the next semester.

I never looked back since that change, and I’ve never considered switching majors since. I found my niche and though it has been challenging, it’s also been rewarding and above all, interesting. This is the stuff that catches my attention and that I want to continue learning about even outside of the classroom. I think that’s a good sign that you’ve found your right major.

So my advice is: absolutely change your major, if you think you’ll be happier. Being able to find your passion is a luxury and university will often allow you to do that. Try elective courses to get a flavour for different subjects if you’re unsure. Schedule meetings with professors to talk it over. The best part is, if you think you’ve made a mistake, you can always change back. You won’t lose credits for experimenting, after all.


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