BY MINDY ALLEN
Do you remember the anxiety you felt before graduating high school when you were concerned with your future? It is possible you were still in the process of finding the perfect college, or maybe you were not sure what you wanted to do after college. Now, while you are attending classes at McKendree University, you may still be undecided about your major or may have last minute fears about your current major, but you are not alone. Many students change their majors during their college careers – and some even multiple times before graduating.
Whether you are a freshman or a junior planning to graduate in the next year, you may decide your major needs some tweaking or that you want to add an additional minor. Donna Bick, a nontraditional student whose original career path was English with a minor in creative writing decided to add Professional Writing as a minor during her senior year. She decided to stay at McKendree for at least another semester because she loves to learn.
“For me, though, the more I learn and take classes, the more I want to learn other things… If [students] change their major after three or four years of college, that does not surprise me,” Bick explains. “Some students feel compelled to go for the education that will bring in the money or are steered to occupations by their parents, but then after a few years, they realize they hate what they are studying and make a bold move and change their major, which I think is brave.”
For professional advice, Career Services, along with academic advisors, are the best people to contact when students have fears about changing their majors. Emily Lucia, a senior at McKendree who was also once an English major, decided to change her degree to Professional Writing immediately before her senior year. Lucia’s advises to other students “not over think your decision, and talk it over with your parents and advisors. They know best. But ultimately, pray about it (if you’re the praying type). There’s a sense of relief and a feeling of rightness when it’s all said and done.”
If you want to change your major, Career Services can help on an individual basis. Jennifer Pickerell, the director of Career Services, explains that graduate school is an option for some students: “It really depends on the major, the student and his or her financial situation, and if he or she has plans to go to graduate school after McKendree. For example, if the student wants to pursue graduate school immediately after McKendree and can be accepted with their current major into the program of his or her choice, [then] they wouldn’t have to change majors. They would then be able to pursue a different area of interest in graduate school instead.”
For students who are not interested in graduate school, as long as time allows, students can alter their majors by choosing similar career tracks. Sometimes, students may not realize that, even in their junior years, they have room to add minors, as Jennifer Pickerell of Career Services says: “Often a student can add a minor their junior year, and in fact I have seen that happen several times because they have more credits in a specific area than they realized they would have when beginning their studies. Sometimes a student might find they can still get into an area of interest even if they don’t have that specific major, depending on the industry.”
College is about finding who you are and who you want to be before entering the workforce. Although choosing a major, deciding to change your major, or adding a minor may seem like ingredients for a stressful headache, it is just a part of being a college student. While you are attending McKendree University, take your time in finding yourself (and your future career) before you become you graduate and enter into the “real” world.