Still deciding on a major or maybe questioning the one you currently have? That is totally OK and normal! According to the National Center for Education Statistics, about 80% of college students change their major at least once!

 My freshman year in 2015, I came into WSU majoring in Biochemistry with Pre-Veterinary medicine. I had always wanted to be a veterinarian – working with animals and helping them feel better…Or so I thought.

 I changed my major a few weeks into my first semester because, through campus clubs and engaging with others, I found that I enjoyed interactions with people and those around me. So, I changed my major to Chemistry Teaching – a degree that would allow me to be a high school chemistry teacher.  After a year of labs, lectures, and education classes, I found that chemistry and teaching was not for me.

Through that process, as well as continuing my involvement in campus clubs, I found that I enjoyed helping people. I enjoyed getting to know those around me and meeting new people to add to my social network. After looking to friends and career services staff for wise counsel, Social Work was the path I decided to take, and it has been one of the best decisions I have made in college.

Here are some lessons learned when hit with uncertainty about my major:

1. Some people know what they want to major in right away, it’s ok if you don’t!

You may feel pressure from friends, family, and maybe even yourself to choose a major/career path. Some people may have known what they wanted to be since they were young, but that’s not EVERYONE. Again, 80% of students change their major at least once, so don’t be afraid to say “I’m not sure what I want major in, but I’m working on it and I know it is going to be something I love and am passionate about.”

2. Self-discovery is a process

The self-discovery process was how I found social work and the career path I wanted to pursue. I found that I enjoyed people, but I would not have been able to discover that without putting myself out there through campus clubs.

3. The weight of what you want/love should outweigh other opinions

Although my friends and career staff encouraged me to choose social work because it matched my personality and ambitions, others were not very fond of my choice. Although it felt as though I was disappointing those who objected, I realized it was a choice only I could live with. You may hear comments from your parents, friends, or others, but continue to choose your passions over others’ comments.

Your major is not your life sentence

]Through the years, I have met many people who majored in something and now work in an unrelated field. But, they love their job and are passionate about what they do. So, when choosing a major, know that it is not your life sentence. It’s just a toolbox of skills, abilities, and knowledge to get to where you want to be!

Still unsure of what to do next? Career services at Winona State University, located in Maxwell Hall 314, is happy to assist you with career exploration, career assessments, and advising. You could also take the Focus 2 website assessment to narrow your major choices. Also, sign up for an appointment with one of our career counselors on AdvisorTrac.

Have questions? Email me, Lizette Salazar, or Career Services.

Authored by: Lizette Salazar

  • Career & Advising Services Graduate Assistant
  • Warrior Success Center