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The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

The Student News Site of St. Joseph's University

The Hawk News

Why I changed my major twice


How the pandemic influenced my area of study

“What’s your major?” is a fairly simple question for most students. But for me, I feel I always have to preface my answer with a fairly long back story in order for people to understand how I picked my current major.

Before college, I wanted to major in environmental science; I loved being outdoors and I definitely wasn’t pleased with how we were treating our planet, so I wanted to change that. My freshman year as an environmental science major went well, and even though my biology courses were a bit overwhelming, I never doubted what I wanted to study.

It wasn’t until the summer going into my sophomore year that I realized that the environmental science major may not be for me. That summer, I became a photographer for a modern sushi restaurant in my town, and I eventually had the opportunity to set up their website too. I loved the work I did, and I began thinking about changing my major to something that involved art and technology.

After scouring the St. Joe’s undergraduate programs for about a month, I decided that the communication studies major was the perfect fit for me.

I entered my sophomore year as a communication studies major, and for the first time, I felt liberated from the pressures that my environmental science major put on me. In my communications courses, I was encouraged to be creative and to think outside the box, which was much different from when I was cramming information about cells and genetics into my brain at midnight.

While I loved the communication studies major, I still didn’t feel at peace with where I was. At the end of my sophomore year, I realized that part of me wanted to return to more science-based courses. So, I went through the process of changing my major. Again.

At that point, I was entering my junior year, so my options were pretty slim. And by slim, I mean I only had one option. The interdisciplinary health services (IHS) major was the closest I could get to a more science-based major. While I never really expressed interest in the IHS major before, I decided that switching my major to IHS would be a very timely choice.

I changed my major from communication studies to IHS during the coronavirus pandemic. For me, I felt uncertain about my second major change, but living through a pandemic has certainly motivated me to learn more about diseases and the social determinants of health.

As of now, I’m starting to find a deeper interest in the IHS major. Even though it seems like I’m starting from scratch, I like to think that I’m starting from experience. Changing your major is pretty common, but changing your major twice can definitely be unnerving.

When I tell people that I’ve had a different major every year of college, I tend to get the remark “So are you going to change your major again senior year?” And I’d like to address that question with a very big “no.”

It’s a bit too late to start a new major at this point, but I’m not concerned about that because I truly feel like the IHS major couldn’t have come to me at a better time. In my IHS classes, I’m learning more and more about the pandemic that we’re living through, and it’s incredibly fascinating.

I think that sometimes when we enter college, we have this grand idea of how things are going to go. However, I’m here to tell every student that anything can happen. And when unexpected things do occur, don’t be afraid of change.

Even though it may seem like things are completely out of your control, just know that being in college is all about exploring your options. It’s all about learning who you are and what you feel deeply connected to and passionate about. Choosing a major is about discovering something that challenges you and  fits with what you’re good at.

College is the time to explore a multitude of subjects, so if you are feeling trapped in your major, you probably are. But don’t be afraid to change that. Don’t limit yourself to what you know; expand your knowledge of the world by shaking it up a bit and embracing new experiences and ideas.

Changing my major twice has been quite the journey, but through the challenges, I have grown and learned more about myself than I would have ever imagined. It’s never too late to pursue something you’re interested in, and I think it’s better to move through life making those difficult decisions rather than sitting around and wondering, “what if?”

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