Why I Switched My Major

College is not easy, but it certainly isn’t impossible. For me, the hardest part about college was choosing a major. Growing up, I had stuck to one idea as to what career to pursue as an adult, but college hit me in the face like a tidal wave and changed all of that.

All my life, I knew I wanted to pursue medicine. At six years old, I started my own personal medical journey. I was in and out of the hospital, doctors appointments, weekly blood testing - the works. My favorite place to be if I had to see one of my many doctors, was UCSF, simply because of the incomparable treatment. In my eyes, UCSF is where idealistic patient care is practiced. Being a young girl diagnosed left and right with auto-immune disorders was terrifying for me, and the treatment I received from many doctors at UCSF was my inspiration to pursue medicine in the first place. But as I mentioned, once I got into college, this all changed. After much soul searching, I’ve learned that it wasn’t caring for people that drove me towards the medical field, it was making people feel cared for.

Pardon my language, but I think its bullshit. Being pressured to make such a life altering decision at the age of eighteen (when a year ago I was still considered a child…) is bullshit. Yeah there are plenty of people out there that do it and are successful, if you managed, that’s amazing and you should be proud of that accomplishment. Obviously, the ability to pick one major and just shoot through isn’t for everyone and that’s probably why major-switching is allowed.

The first year and a half of college was unbelievably stressful for me because I was questioning my major. I was constantly asking myself if all the stress of taking years of chemistry (I’m not into the micro-sciences, I prefer macro) was worth it. Was waiting an extra God-knows-how-many years to start a family worth it to me?…

I took a long hard look at how I was feeling, and my grades. I had no hope of transferring if I continued down the path I was on. While my grades weren’t so hot in my science classes, I would see A’s and B’s in Liberal Arts areas. Now with this next part, please take my first statement with a grain of salt, because I was wrong. I used to think there was no point in an English degree… Naive me, clearly making uneducated guesses, was unaware of how many intelligent traits are held by English majors. One of these traits being to critically think and analyze - this ability is truly priceless. It took one English class in particular for me to see this. A year ago, Fall 2017, I took an Intro to Literature class at the junior college with a professor that changed my perspective little by little with every class, but one statement in particular - “Speak up”. I would write papers for her class and fortunately, receive good grades, but in class I was as quiet as a mouse. I HATE raising my hand in class, even if I know deep in my bones that I have the right answer or that my opinion would be entertained - don’t ask why, because I truly don’t have an answer. My professor obviously noticed this. What I’m trying to get across here, is that she encouraged me to use my voice and to do what I am good at because “life is too short”. Spring 2018, I switched my major officially.

The Take Away…

Switching my major is one of best decisions I've made in my life so far. Walking out of the counselors office knowing my major had been changed felt like the weight of the world being lifted off of my shoulders. This feeling reaffirmed my decision, because it made me realize that some of the best things for us might feel like some of the scariest things to do. For me, switching my major was terrifying because I had talked up becoming a doctor all of my life, I didn’t want to let anybody down by changing my mind. I received some reactions like, “What are you going to do with that?” (that as in and B.A. in English). This is the reaction I feared most. But let me tell you what I want to do with it. My dream is to work for a magazine or beauty website because I’m finally happy to speak up and I would love for people to want to read my opinions/reviews/advice. This is my shooting for the stars dream, my city girl at heart dream.

Overall, my grades are better, I’m happier, I’ve become more confident in my decision making, and I’ve become more confident as a person. Whether you’re thinking of switching your major or making a big decision, choose the path that is the most fulfilling - even if it’s not the decision everyone else hopes you’ll make. At the end of the day, it’s the decision you’ll have to live with, so do what makes you happy.

Emma BriseñoComment