It goes without saying that choosing your college degree is a major decision.
It’s a choice that likely will impact your entire college experience, not to mention your future career.
Some students arrive on campus knowing exactly what they want to major in. Others have a vague idea, but leave some room for themselves to explore. Many have no clue and sample a few different options before declaring.
And you know what? Any one of those paths are valid. Personally, I tend to think it’s good to have a general idea of what you’re interested in, while keeping an open mind and seeking out new experiences. Still, to each their own when it comes to deciding on a college major.
Here’s the thing, though – what if you pick the wrong major? Suffering through that situation that can stress you out, trash your grades, hurt your future, and just generally make you a miserable person. No one wants to find themselves thousands of dollars in debt over four years of angst and a useless degree.
But how can you tell that you’re headed down an academic path that’s just not right for you?
Here are 11 tell-tale signs that you should reconsider your course of studies:
Your grades are terrible
Bad grades aren’t necessarily a sign you’re pursuing the wrong degree. Obviously, your GPA is dependent on a number of factors – the difficulty of your major, your inherent skills as a student, the academic intensity of your college, your ability to multitask … the list goes on and on.
Nonetheless, if you’re giving it your absolute all and your grades continue to fall in flames, you’ve got to take a step back. It’s great to challenge yourself in college, but definitely consider the possibility that you’re forcing yourself to do something that you’re simply not very good at.
You can’t explain why you chose your major
Maybe you just kind of fell into your major. Sometimes, that works out for people.
That being said, if you really can’t justify why you picked your field of study, it’s possible that the passion’s really not there.
You’re not excited about the coursework
Okay, even the biggest nerds get sick of coursework at some point. No matter how much you love studying 17th century Europe or advanced neuro-immunology, the honeymoon will eventually end. You’re bound to feel somewhat bored and overwhelmed with at least a few of your assignments.
However, you should still have at least be a spark of interest in your major requisites. If you seriously couldn’t care less about anything you’re being taught, that’s a bad sign.
- Wikimedia Commons
Your major is seriously stressing you out
College can be a stressful time for any number of reasons. Feeling overwhelmed or upset isn’t necessarily unusual.
However, it’s a red flag if you’re dreading all of your classes. You shouldn’t force yourself to acclimate to a certain major at the expense of your own well being.
You picked your major because you thought it would be easy
The only reason you signed on for your major is because you thought you’d totally cruise though it.
Yeah, Cs get degrees and all that. Plus, it’s fine if you find your major easy because you love it so much and you’re talented in the subject. Still, if you picked it for the sole reason that it seemed simple, you’re doing college wrong. Challenge yourself!
You hate all the professors in the department
There are some professors that you just won’t get along with (personally, I had one who called me a different variation of my name every class – even though I was constantly raising my hand to participate and answer questions).
But if you’re not getting along with any of the professors in your field of study, that could be a warning sign.
You picked your major because your parents told you to
Allowing your parents to control your college life could lead to massive resentment down the road.
In fairness, they probably have your interests in mind and it’s great to get their wisdom and insight. However, you can’t let them make choices for you.
If you find your parents trying to decide your major for you, try to set up boundaries in order to establish a more adult relationship.
You picked your major because you thought it would be lucrative
Having a pragmatic eye toward your major is awesome. If you’re interested in a subject that will help you find employment in a field that pays well, good for you! Pursue that.
Still, you shouldn’t solely base your major choice on earning potential. It might sound like a good idea, but you risk forcing yourself into a subject that you have zero interest in.
You constantly need help
Don’t be that person. You know – the one who’s perpetually falling behind. The one who’s always asking classmates to share their notes. You are to your study group’s Facebook message as Commissioner Gordon is to the Bat Signal.
Basically, you need a ton of hand-holding. Maybe that’s just how you learn, or maybe you’re simply not cut out for your major.
You’re more interested in your friends’ studies
When you talk about class with friends outside your major, you can’t help but feel envy. Obviously, individuals in more intensive majors are always going to be a bit jealous of those with chiller schedules. Still, those pangs should disappear pretty quickly, if you’re certain about your choice.
You’re probably in the wrong major if you feel your friends’ professors, classes, and projects sound infinitely better than yours. If that’s the case, maybe it’s time to switch.
You hated your internship
Your major classes are alright, but you loathed the summer internship you landed in a field related to your major. There weren’t any identifiable circumstances that made the experience miserable (a bad boss, terrible pay, or whatnot) – you just hated the work. If you’re hoping to embark upon a career in a field related to your major, this might be a sign that you’re studying the wrong thing.
You can’t see how your major will help you in the future
Major does not have to equal destiny (as long as you have a plan and you’re gaining plenty of career experience along the way). So if your degree doesn’t necessarily deposit you on a linear path to a career, that’s fine! With some experience and networking abilities, you can find a way to connect the dots yourself (unless, of course, we’re talking about a career path with actual degree or class requirements).
That being said, you should have a general idea of how your degree might help you going forward. Even if it’s as vague as learning to communicate effectively or garnering excellent lab work skills, you need to be able to speak to what skills your major provided once you enter the job market. If you’re constantly coming up blank when you’re thinking about the long term benefits of your degree, then it might be time to make the switch.