Changing your Major: Passion vs Pay

Should I change my major?

In career path, Graduation, Choosing a career, passion, Changing Your Major, Salary

Changing your major: the aftermath

Changing your major can be one of the most stressful moments in an undergraduates career. Thinking back to when I was 17, applying for college and selecting my major, I really didnt have any idea what I wanted to do for a career. I started out my Freshman year thinking to myself that I wanted to be a physical therapist when I grow up. I enjoyed the Biology classes, but was barely passing any of my Chemistry courses.

I wanted to change my major and I thought that I was failing at college because I didn't have my whole life planned out. At the time I thought to myself, "Is this the time that I drop out of college and move back in with my parents for the rest of my life?". It took me till the end of my Sophomore year to finally take initiative and try to switch my major.

I talked to my advisor and by my Junior year I was on track to graduating with a degree that I love. I'm here to tell you that if you want to change your major, do it! I was lucky enough to get an in-depth interview with two undergrad students that attend Ohio University. Below I am going to share their success stories post-major change.

But first...

If you're thinking about changing your major, you're not alone. The majority of undergraduate students change their major throughout their college career. There are things you can do to prepare yourself for the switch, and I advise you to talk to someone so you have a little help along the way. Some people you could talk to include:

  • Family member
  • Counselor
  • Friends/Roommates
  • Advisor
  • Teacher

Don't let the stigma that changing your major is embarrassing or wrong in any way. There are people out there that will help you through the whole process!


In career path, Graduation, Changing Your Major

Valuable advice for choosing a major in college

When it comes to researching the field of study you are considering, the internet is a great starting point, but it will only get you so far. One of the most valuable resources that is easily dispensable to you is the knowledge and experience of others.

A person who has found their passion in their work will be more than happy to share their perspective with you, all you have to do is ask.

 As a college student, there are two types of perspectives you should be seeking to gain: that of professors and professionals. This mix will provide you with the ultimate Pro-spective.

Pro-spective = Professor + Professional          

The Value I Gained from This Advice!

      I was lucky enough to have had a teacher my junior year who embodied a mix of these perspectives. His name is Tom Marchese, and he had just finished his impressive professional career which included being Vice President of Marketing at Papa Murphy’s,  Wendy’s, and Bob Evans. As a professor, he took his experiences and knowledge from his professional career and applied them to the classroom giving students the opportunity to learn in an extremely engaging environment.

The valued advice that I gained from this professor/professional came after having taken his class. On the last day of his class he encouraged us to reach out to him if we ever had any questions or simply wished to speak with him. I really enjoyed him as a person so the next semester I decided to see if he would like to grab coffee with me.

Over coffee, I was able to have a great conversation with him entailing my interests in his class and the fact that I was a bit worried about my choice of major. I explained to him that I was a very technical person but that I wasn’t finding my major to be completely fulfilling. His advise is was what ultimately lead me to writing this blog post.

Tom told me that as a young person who had a knack for the internet and social media, I should look into a class called Digital Marketing taught by his former professional colleague at the school, Nate Riggs. From his professional perspective, the skills that I would learn in the class would be a part of an emerging job market.

 The Value 

What I did next with his advice might surprise many students; I decided to email the professor to see if I could shadow the class. I say this might seem surprising because when I went to the class I had a student tell me that she thought It was odd that I would spend my free time actually going to class that I wasn’t even enrolled in.

But that’s exactly the point of going to college, to find a subject that you are so passionate about that going to class doesn’t feel like work, but rather enjoyable to the point that it feels more like play. What I heard when I sat in that class grabbed the hell out of my attention, heck I even wrote down notes.

Reflecting back on this experience, I can’t tell you how glad I am that I sought out the perspective of others. While I did not choose to add on marketing as a major, I truly believe that the skills and knowledge that I am currently gaining in this Digital Marketing class will have an impact on my career path.

What I did is something that you can easily do yourself. Here is how you can gain both a Professor and Professional perspective.

 Professors Perspective

 1) Create a “What if DARS Report”

 This report shows you the required classes that you would need to take for the major as well as what classes you have already taken that count towards it.

2) Then go to "OHIO University Course Offerings"

Search the required classes, both the introductory and higher level courses. When you have a search result for a class, click on the teachers name in the class description. This will bring up the professor's profile which includes his or her email address.

 3) Send the professor an email asking to meet

Explain that you are a student that is considering changing majors and are interesting in the field that he or she teaches.  Let the professor know that you’d like to have a conversation to gain a better perspective.

Bonus- Ask if they would be willing to share a copy of their syllabus, this way you can gain a better insight on what the learning objectives are for that class.

 Professional Perspective 

1) If you haven’t already, create a LinkedIn account

The LinkedIn search box is a great tool to utilize. You can search by major to find connections and prospective employers. Joining the Ohio University Alumni Association group is a great way to connect with alumni from the school. The Bobcat family is real people. 

2) Connect with a professional

If they have inmail, send them a message explaining that you are considering the major that they studied and would like to get some advice now that they have started their career.

Some extra advice 

Changing your major: the aftermath

Finally, a great starting point for any advice regarding majors is the Career & Leadership Development Center, located on the fifth floor of Baker Center.


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In career path, Athens, Graduation, Career Moves, About me, marketing, Growing Up