How to Know if Your Major Is Not Working Out

Entering as a freshman at a big institution is frightening—I get it. Picking classes during summer registration is nerve-wracking—honestly, I feel you. Selecting the right major that you actually enjoy? A spooky feeling that many undergraduate students feel. Not everyone goes through it, but it is an uneasy feeling during the college experience. One might think the major they are first enrolled in will be the one and only. However, that is not the reality for most students, and that is perfectly fine!

Looking back at my freshman year, I view it as a year to test the waters with what I was getting myself into. You meet new friends, and you also get the chance to experience the material that you think you’ve been wanting to study ever since you enrolled for classes. Truthfully, a person’s perspective can possibly change when you take the classes.

By any means, I am not saying to immediately drop your major if you’re feeling stuck. Trust your gut, but also plan ahead and be rational. Here are some “hints” that I had before I changed my major.

1. Lack of Interest 

Interest is key when it comes to your classes in your major, especially with the core courses that students have to take in order to fulfill the requirements to graduate. If you are sitting in class and none of the material is interesting, that may be a sign! Your advisor might say, “Oh, it’s just that class that might be boring, but take another!” Give it another shot and take another class. If you are still feeling the same, talk to your advisor about other options.

2. Difficulty Relating to the Material

It’s hard to enjoy your major if you can’t relate or show passion to it. I remember being in a class from the previous major that I was in. Everyone in the room was able to express their support but I just couldn’t. Also, this comes in hand with the grades that you are receiving!

3. Trouble With Grades

Take care of your grades! If you see an obvious problem with your grades, that might be a sign that the major is not for you! Ask for assistance; the TAs are there for a reason. However, if that is still not working for you, like I said before, ask your advisor or someone who you are close to for advice.

It is never too late to change your major. I changed my major my junior year. However, do start taking action if you are trying to change it. Take requirement classes for the prospective major you are trying to switch into.

You got this!


Class of 2021
I was born and raised in Cicero, Illinois. Although I entered Illinois as an English major, I trusted my gut and switched to Journalism. Coming to a big institution and being a first-generation student can feel like a handful. However, knowing your resources and getting out of your comfort zone can help in the long run.

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