Posted on June 7, 2019
It is hard to believe that the end of the spring semester came so quickly. My first year as a college student is complete; in comparison to how long it felt like I waited to get here as a high school student, desperate to break out into the “real world,” it’s gone by all too fast. With the end of the semester came the (somewhat tedious) process of planning for the next fall semester. I took the opportunity to reflect on my current major and solidify some big decisions.
At some point during the fall semester, after scouring the course catalog a few times and reflecting on my current classes, I decided that I wanted to switch out of Exercise Science. Based on my interests, the logical decision seemed to be Biological Sciences. But all of this raised an obvious question: when do I make the switch? I found myself in an academic advisor’s office around midterms during the fall semester, asking all of these questions and unsuccessfully trying to figure out four years in one meeting. Her advice to me? “Go back to your dorm and worry about your midterms for now.” It wasn’t the right time to start questioning all of my life decisions, and the courses that I was taking had me on the right track for Exercise Science or Biology. There was no rush to make that decision at the time, and I’m glad that I took the time to consider my options.
Now that I’ve experienced a full year of college courses (including the uniquely rigorous experience that is Honors Integrated Chemistry and Biology), it was time to make some of those decisions that I felt unnecessarily pressured to make in the fall. I decided to switch to Biology, and with an incredibly tentative four-year plan mapped out on a Google Sheet and bookmarked on my laptop, I have never been more excited. At the same time, I’ve also started considering a minor or double major. Psychology is another passion of mine, and I am working on incorporating that into my academic experience in some way while I am here at UD.
For anyone who might be considering changing their major, the biggest piece of advice I can give is to take a step back and breathe. This isn’t a decision that you need to make today, tomorrow, or the next day. Consider your goals, your interests, and things that you’ve never had the opportunity to experience. Take a class in the major you’re interested in before you make the switch, if you can. I had the advantage of being in Integrated in the fall and spring, which gave me a glimpse into the world of biology before I made my decision. Compare the recommended four-year plans that are available in the course catalog, but don’t get caught up in the minutia of every class and credit right now. Reach out to advisors in your majors of interest and your current major, and get their perspective. Planning is definitely necessary to make the best out of your four years here, but getting caught in a cycle of over-planning and over-thinking will just complicate things. There’s a delicate balance between carelessly switching without a second thought and pouring over every tiny detail before you come to a decision. Changing your major may be a “major” decision, but don’t let fear stop you from making the best of your time at UD!