“What do you want to be when you grow up?” Always a simple question, but never really a simple answer.
In elementary school, I remember wanting to be a teacher. In middle school, I remember wanting to be a lawyer. And in high school, I shifted from both of those tracks because I wanted to go down a business path.
During each phase of my life, I had a clear answer for the notorious question. I never felt particularly confused about my career plans. And still, my answer kept evolving as I grew, matured, and continued to learn new things about myself. Some of us know what we want to do with our lives from the very beginning. Others are still working to figure it out. There’s no “right” answer, and there’s no “right” time because the process of finding an aspiration varies from person to person.
Following my ambitions, I came into the Honors College at UD as a Finance major. I had been set on entering the business field for a couple of years and was ready to finally get started. But by my second semester of freshman year, I quickly realized that the field of accounting piqued my interest far more than I anticipated. I transitioned my plans to focus on working towards becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) to go into forensic accounting. As an Accounting major, I decided that it was important to have a technological background as well, which led me to add a Management Information Systems (MIS) minor. And over the summer, after gaining exposure to my minor, I made a final switch, entering sophomore year as an MIS major with an Accounting concentration. The point of my story? I came into college thinking I knew exactly what I wanted to do. And yet, I still ended up switching my major several times before landing on the best option for me.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with making these changes a couple of times, but that is not to say that making the switch is always easy. Discussing, researching, and planning are the three crucial steps to take before making the official adjustments. When you first find a major you’re interested in, it’s important to talk to professors, advisors, peers, and if possible, professionals from the major and industry. This is a way of gaining internal insights that can help you determine whether or not you want to pursue a similar career path. Researching is the next course of action. Your own interests as well as the insight gained from talking to others can provide a vague idea of what you want to do, but the research aspect is where you can truly begin to figure out how to apply your goals in the “real world.” A good starting point would be searching top employers, position titles, and average salaries of the jobs you’d be interested in. After researching, there’s enough information to confirm or reject your decision about the major, meaning the final step that is left is to make a plan. “What courses have you taken already? What courses will you need to take? When will you take them?” The answers to these questions will ensure that you are on the right track to graduating on time despite switching majors. Once you have all three of these steps figured out, submitting the major change request form is the very last, two minute process. My last recommendation would be to finalize these developments within freshman and the first semester of sophomore year. These semesters are typically when breadth, university, and introductory course requirements are fulfilled, so you won’t fall behind schedule with upper level courses. In the end, what matters most is that you are satisfied with the major and career you settle on.
Ultimately, all of the flip-flopping within my own college journey led me to the realization that regardless of whether or not you have your plans figured out, university experiences will undoubtedly help pave the path that fits you the best.