Major Pain: 5 Signs it’s Time to Change Your Major


Image courtesy of ntwowe /

By Kelly Leslie, San Francisco State University

Freshman orientation is just school spirit and advisers reminding you that you have plenty of time before you have to choose your major, but no one ever says how fast it’s going to sneak up on you.

In fact, winter break for some sophomores can be a total wake-up call when it reminds students that there is only one more short semester (or two even shorter quarters) left before they have to make the big decision. For some people, there’s no question what their major is going to be, but this is not how it feels for the majority.

After all is said and done, the major you choose still may not be the one for you. Even though the freedom to change your major is tempting, there are some downsides to it, too. Check these five signs to see if it may be time for you to change your major and if there are any other options for you.

Sign 1: You’re struggling in your classes and not getting the greatest grades

You may have had straight A’s while completing your general education requirements, but now that you are an upperclassman, you can’t seem to keep up with all the work. Trust me, the last letter you want on your transcript is “W” for withdrawal. If you’re having a difficult enough time with your classes that you are worried about failing, it may be time to reconsider what you are studying. Nothing will set your graduation date further than having to take the same classes multiple times. If you don’t have a clear sight of when you’ll be dressing in the infamous cap and gown, it might be time to try something new.

Sign 2: You can’t motivate yourself to go to class because you are so incredibly bored that you can’t focus

The best thing about college is the fact that you chose to be there. No one is forcing you to continue with your education, so you definitely deserve to be studying something you like. If you find yourself unhappy and totally not interested, there’s probably something better out there. You should enjoy what you are studying, after all because you’re going to use what you learn for the remainder of your life. If you are already a junior, choosing a new major may set your graduation date back, but if graduating a semester late means being happy in your future career it is worth it. Besides, five years is the new four for many students these days!

Sign 3: You chose your major before you actually knew what you wanted to study

The bad thing about college is how fast it goes by. Before you know it, you’re faced with a decision that is going to effect you for the rest of your life, and even then you’re not sure which path is best for you. If you chose something that didn’t matter to you before, chances are, you’re going to eventually find the one that does. It’s never too late to change and go after something that makes you happy. One way to keep this from happening if you are still an underclassman is to try a couple of internships to see if they are something you enjoy first.

Sign 4: You find yourself in advising offices talking about majors that aren’t your own

If curiosity brings you into this situation, it may be because you are unhappy with the major that you chose. It’s OK to spend some time exploring new topics and even deciding that you would rather study another one instead. If you’re happy with your current major but find this happening a lot, you can always consider taking on a minor or even a double major … IF you’re up for the challenge.

Sign 5: After a long summer internship, you realize your dream job isn’t what you imagined

Internships are a great way to find out if you’re going to be happy in a certain field for the rest of your life. Gave it a try and realized you can’t picture yourself spending the next 10 years there? It’s probably time to try something new. Chances are, if you didn’t enjoy a taste of your future career, you won’t be happy there in the long run.

Head on over to 1,000 Dreams Fund to learn how to get funding for your dreams!