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Undergrad Major Changes


kotov
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Figured this might get y'all's minds off of grad school just for a moment. Let's flash back to our naivete as undergrads. How many times did you change your major before reaching the one you finished in? I changed twice. I started out as applied math (actuarial), decided I hated calculus, changed to English for about a month or two then signed up for a history class and remembered how much I loved history. I changed to history in the spring of my freshman year and the rest is...history?

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Figured this might get y'all's minds off of grad school just for a moment. Let's flash back to our naivete as undergrads. How many times did you change your major before reaching the one you finished in? I changed twice. I started out as applied math (actuarial), decided I hated calculus, changed to English for about a month or two then signed up for a history class and remembered how much I loved history. I changed to history in the spring of my freshman year and the rest is...history?

Two times ... was admitted to my university as a psych major. Was told by parents to switch to Bio so I did ... HATED it. Switched back to psychology second semester of Freshman year. Would have loved a biostats or public health major at my undergrad but sadly we didn't have them. (Because I would have probably switched again to that Sophomore year!) I took on two minors because I was just a confused little undergrad with too many interests.

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I came to college as an exploratory major but quickly changed to psychology and was focused on being a psychologist quickly after that. (however, i did change career path aspirations from clinical psychologist to cognitive neuroscientist/ experimental psychologist :P)

I was lucky that I found what "clicked" for me early on.

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I started out as an English major. I took a composition class where the instructor was younger than me and she insisted that all 5 paragraph essays must have 5 sentences in the first paragraph, 8, 8, 8 in the body and 5 again in the conclusion. She counted off 10 points for each additional or missing sentence. She forbade the use of metaphoric language. You couldn't say "drove me up the wall" because one cannot literally drive up a wall. She drove me up a wall. I knew that I would not be able to handle four years of professors like her so I switched to History. I toyed around with Anthropology also, but I ended up minoring in it rather than changing my major again.

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English first. Felt like the main qualification was agreeing with the Professors on their interpretations, which helped me change. History was much better. My first teacher there said, "We don't care what you know, we care what you can prove." Fit like a glove.

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At first it was Poli Sci and journalism because I thought I wanted to be a political speechwriter. Then it was French and Peace Studies because I thought I wanted to work with a non-profit in West Africa. Eventually I ended up in an interdisciplinary studies because the classes offered were always the coolest out of any department.

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I took on two minors because I was just a confused little undergrad with too many interests.

This exactly.

I didn't ever change majors. I've been a biochemistry major since I applied to college.

I thought about changing several times, but in the end I loved my science classes too much. I did end up tacking on psychology and sociology majors and have taken classes in tons of other areas like computer science and archaeology. My ridiculously broad interests are a major reason I decided to get a masters in library science rather than go for a PhD in the life/chemical or social sciences

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I added one. Originally came to undergrad planning to major in History and Creative Writing. I decided to drop Creative Writing and just declare History. Then I realized during sophomore year that I was taking enough courses to also get the East Asian Studies major as long as I wrote another thesis, so I ended up with my double in History and East Asian Studies. And now I study Japanese History, so it all worked out in the end! :D

Edited by kyjin
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I clearly didn't know what I wanted in undergrad: recruited for studio art, then switched to anthropology, then communications/public relations, then creative writing/editing (minored in comm. and anthropology).

Now, after 7 years in the workforce, I'm changing it all again and going back to school for speech pathology. At least this time I feel like I'm where I should be!

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I started with an interdisciplinary degree in international studies, with minors in econ and Spanish. By my senior year, I realized that I didn't know enough of anything to get a job. It's probably because I didn't major in math to begin with. (The opposite of you guys?) Instead of being advised about my future, it felt like I had gone to a Montessori school for college. I ended up with enough hours to get three BAs (after a couple more years), with a minor in math.

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I didn't actually change majors, as I had always intended to major in poli sci. We didn't have to declare majors or minors upon entering, though, so I had started with the plan of a poli sci major and film studies minor. Then I intended to change to a physics major (a result of a temporary effusion of enthusiasm), but, after a semester of not doing so well in physics and math courses, I went back to poli sci and added a philosophy minor.

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Hmm.. I'm not even sure I can remember all of mine! I came in as a History, German and Philosophy major (I think?). Dropped German and History almost instantly. Switched to Criminal Justice; demoted Philosophy down to a minor. Spent one semester my junior year as a Pre-Business major, another as an International Affairs attempt (didn't work - all IA classes were full). Switched back to Criminal Justice. Graduated with a Criminal Justice degree and a Philosophy minor - all in 4 years somehow.

I did a little bit of everything. It seems to have all worked out in the end - I wouldn't have the necessary economics pre-reqs for some Master's IA programs if I hadn't been pre-business that one semester!

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What a cool thread! I've always been very intrigued by people's choices about their particular field(s) of study.

The summer before twelfth grade, I was reading a book on languages and word-origins when it occurred to me that I'd always liked words and suffixes and etymology. Not that I didn't have a ton of interests, but I liked the thought of putting 'linguistics' as my intended major on my college-applications. By the end of the summer I was becoming aware that this was starting to feel like a very significant discovery. At one point I went by the university in my hometown and had a little look at an actual linguistics textbook. Didn't understand much of it from just a peek at it, but even just the diagrams had me getting excited. Why not try that out as a major? Come August, once at college I signed up for Linguistics 101, and excitedly went off to the first class of it. Aaaaaaaannnnd it was horrible. The professor was apathetic and disorganised, and after an hour and a half I wandered out feeling really discouraged. Then it occurred to me: I knew myself better than that. If I'd just been frustrated by the first class of what was supposed to be the introductory course to an intended major I was excited about, then the problem probably wasn't me. On a determined impulse, I went and dropped the class, replacing it with a course called Minority Languages and Linguistics. Okay, I turned out to be the only first-year student in it - and most of the other seven people in the class were upper-years or grad-students. I didn't care. The professor was a superb teacher, and the sweetest guy ever at that; the class was small enough that there was plenty of discussion. It was absolutely fascinating all the way through. Intended major became actual major, and eventually Minority Languages and Linguistics professor became senior honours-thesis advisor.

It was the minors that surprised me. In the middle of my second year I went from having no interest in the cognitive-science minor at all to eagerly wanting to do it. So I picked that up. Then they set up a music minor at the beginning of my fourth year, and I've always been so into music that I couldn't help but squeeze that in as well. Et voilĂ .

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I went to my state school because I knew I was indecisive and thought that it would be the best place for me to violently change my major several times. Actually I was very prudent. I took all my gen ed courses in the first two years so I could get them out of the way and also so I would have the opportunity to suddenly like geography or psychology (which didn't happen).

I initially declared my major as history and wanted to minor in medieval studies, but kept that in my back pocket because I spent my junior year abroad and didn't want a lack of credit transfers to leave me hanging. My credits transfered beautifully - only my Irish Language seminar didn't have an equivalent - and I was actually able to DOUBLE-major in history AND medieval studies.

My early prudence payed off big time in the last year, where my only courses were the senior thesis project, two medieval lit seminars, and courses I took for fun in Japanese history, German, and French. It also gave me enough free time (or at least, non-stressed-out-time) to apply to grads schools the first time 'round and that's how I got into my current MA program.

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