So You Found Yourself In The Wrong Major...And It’s Not Freshman Year Anymore.
This is one of the biggest fears that many college students have. They go into their so called "Dream Major," and halfway through their college career, they find out that its just not what they expected or signed up for. Unfortunately, this fear becomes a reality for many college students.
Going into college, I told myself that I wouldn't be another statistic. All my life, I was interested in Business and Entrepreneurship, and was positive that business school is where I belonged. Unfortunately, I wasn't accepted to the Rutgers Business School upon admittance to the university and had to take the prerequisites to apply in my sophomore year. When sophomore arrived, I enrolled in 19 credits and was determined to kick ass (which in hindsight, was a big mistake). Fast forward to the end of September and I found myself staring out the window of the Au Bon Pain cafe on College Ave thinking WTF did I get myself into?!
I bombed every single exam. I studied, but you can only devote so much time to each subject when you have 4 midterms in a week. This started the downward spiral of that fall semester. It was ironic-whenever the professor asked questions that pertained to business, investment, real estate, or entrepreneurship, I was one of the few kids in class that knew the answers. However, when it came to answering exam questions about specific accounting terms such as LIFO or FIFO, I drew blanks. This really confused me and led to a lot of self-doubt. I was in the middle of running my second entrepreneurship venture where things were looking up. However, on the other side of the spectrum, I was struggling in my business prerequisites.
The second round of midterms strolled around and I could see my GPA sinking faster than the Titanic. It was a cold November night and I remember looking up at the moon in deep thought. I knew it was time for a big change. Thousands of thoughts ran through my mind. Should I drop out? Change majors? Change schools? WTF do I do? I met with my math professor during office hours just to talk. I was tanking in his class and he knew it. I showed up to every class and tried my hardest, but it just wasn't clicking. We sat down and talked for a good amount of time. Topics ranged from his past work to my past to my future goals and ambitions.
After a long discussion, this professor gave me the best piece of advice I had heard up until that point of my college career. He told me, "You don't need business school. You will be more successful without it. Those that thrive in the business school are a specific type of student that is more attuned to a specific way of learning. Remember Marc Ecko? He was in a similar situation like you. Get out of this. You will be successful no matter what." And that was that.
The following day, I set up a meeting with my dean to figure out what my next move was. Before the meeting, I made a list of what my goals were and what would help me achieve them. I am an entrepreneur, so why not figure out how to hire and manage employees? I will need to do so eventually, so why not learn now? And that was that. By the time I met with the dean, I already had an idea of what direction I wanted to go in. His suggestion was Labor Studies or Human Resources; I chose the latter since that dealt more with business. The following semester, I enrolled in several HR classes to figure out whether this was the right major for me. Fast forward to my last semester at Rutgers, and I couldn't have made a better decision! The material seemed straightforward to me, and it just made sense. I was learning and simultaneously having fun, and that was the exact moment when I knew that I had picked the right major. I met countless students who were in a similar situation to mine and many of them became close friends. We were all trying to find our way through college, and things were finally becoming clear; it just took a little bit of time and patience. So how can my experience benefit your experience here at Rutgers while saving you time, money, and your GPA? Simple. I made a list. This is especially useful if you are a Freshman or Sophomore.
The Guide to finding the right major:
1. Make a giant list of what you want to do in your life. Even if you're not completely sure, just jot down some goals and dreams. Sure, some of them may seem outlandish, but you never know what you will find out about yourself. Take a look at the ideas and choose those you find to be most interesting. Then, start brainstorming topics that may pertain to this goal or dream.
2. Research all the classes that are offered at Rutgers. Read the syllabi, email professors and students that are in those classes and ask questions (students will be more straightforward with their opinions). Ask professors for permission to sit in on their lectures so you can see if the material is something you would enjoy learning about.
3. There is always a way as long as you keep trying. The road to success is never straight, but one full of turns, bumps, detours, and stops. Just keep going and you will eventually reach the end.
4. Think twice before taking more semester credits than you can handle. Sure, you may feel super-motivated when making your schedule, but those countless hours of staring at your textbook in Club Alex will start to wear on you.
5. Find a balance between your social and academic life. Study, but also find time to hang out with your friends. This will keep your stress levels in check.
6. Have fun and don't take everything too seriously.
7. Breathe. Everything will be alright in the end.