Why I Switched Majors

Maya Jingles

Before starting college, I was set on studying stage management having done theatre for my entire life. I had acted briefly, but tech was my life since the 6th grade when I was first introduced to theatre. When I submitted my application to Purchase College, I was unaware that it was incomplete until mid-March when I checked the application status. With time running out, I decided to switch programs to new media, a combination of graphic design and computer science. I was interested in video editing, which I hoped I could do with that major. I was accepted almost instantly, and within two weeks, I had chosen to attend Purchase College in Purchase, New York.

The summer before college, my dad and I bought all the textbooks I needed. I was knee-high in books for classes not only in my major, but for the literature, philosophy, and other electives I had eagerly signed up for. I had skimmed some and felt prepared for whatever college had to throw at me. I still didn’t fully understand the major, but I was excited to explore it. When I got my schedule for Fall 2015, I was thrilled with my major at the school I had chosen.

On August 31st, I hopped out of bed early, ready to begin my first day of classes. I knew some people in my major, and we walked to our first class of college, a 4-hour coding class. After the first hour, I was beyond confused and concerned that I had chosen the wrong path. I knew that I had all of college to find my way and didn’t even need a major until my second semester of sophomore year, but I still didn’t think I could last a semester with the courses I had chosen. I waited another day to take my Tuesday/Friday classes and see what else the major had to offer, but I knew that the add/drop period ended on Friday, and classes were filling up (if they weren’t full already).

Shortly after my Tuesday class, I went to our Advising Center to discuss my options for changing majors. I was able to meet with someone immediately and have all my questions answered. They helped me figure out what I wanted to change to as well as what options I had so late into the first week. In high school, I took an online Intro to Psychology class, which I really enjoyed. Psychology is the biggest department at Purchase, so I knew I had plenty of options for courses to take. Many were full, but the advisors I spoke to were able to pull some strings to allow me to register for a lower-level elective called the Psychology of Stereotypes, Prejudice, and Discrimination. It met once a week on Wednesdays so, thankfully, I hadn’t missed any classes. When I attended the next day, I loved it. The professor was incredible, a black woman with a PhD who had attended Purchase for her Bachelor’s. She is not only an incredible professor who I continue to take classes with, but also my mentor.

I continued as a psychology major through my freshman year and well into my sophomore year, taking all the required courses with room for electives as well. In the fall of my sophomore year, I interned at our Wellness Center, working with other students, all of whom were sociology majors. I didn’t even know what the major was, but I knew they loved it. They encouraged me to register for some sociology electives the following spring, not only because it goes hand-in-hand with psychology, but because it opens your mind as well.

That spring, I went all out, registering for two electives and an introductory course. There was no better way to see if I liked it than to dive right in. I fell in love instantly. I regularly met with one of my professors who eventually became my advisor and mentor. Currently, I am her teaching assistant, and she advises my senior project. Junior year at any school is the time where you really go in depth in your major, taking upper-level courses and requirements for senior projects and papers. I knew I had to make a decision. While I had the opportunity to double major, due to the research-based path of our psychology program, I would end up having to do my senior project within the psychology department, something I wasn’t prepared to do. Although I could take the courses required for both majors and then switch, it would be too much on my plate. I made the reluctant decision to change my major to sociology with a minor in psychology, which gave me the freedom to study psychology while simultaneously completing my senior project in the Sociology Department.

Since that semester, I’ve taken as many classes within the Sociology Department as I could. As a graduating senior looking back, I know I’ve made the right decision. I had more freedom to study what I wanted personally while also being able to study psychology.

And Here’s Why It’s Okay to Switch Majors:

  1. At the end of the four years, you want to be happy with the classes you’re taking and the degree on your diploma. You have to go to class and take the tests, so let yourself study what you’ll actually find interesting.
  2. Even with financial aid and outside help, you’re the one paying back your student loans. Only pay for what you truly think is worth it, even if it’s non-traditional.
  3. College is for trying things out! Even if you take the maximum amount of time in college to declare a major, you’re given that time for a reason. If you don’t go in knowing what you want to do, take the time to explore. Even if you do have a solid plan, explore anyway! You might find a second or even third love, and if you’re going to be in college for 4 years anyway, you might as well max out all of your opportunities.

Tips for Choosing the Right Major:

  1. Do your research on the major and what it means.
  2. Look into career prospects after college with that major and how you can make it work for you in various fields you can be interested in. A lot of majors can be used to fit your needs, and that’s exactly how you need to use it.
  3. Look into the future classes you have to take and see if the requirements sound interesting.
  4. See if you can talk to professors in the field and upperclassmen in the major. Ask them about the major and if they have any advice.

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Learn More About Purchase College

Just 35 miles north of bustling New York City, Purchase College is nestled among 500 acres of fields and forests. It offers rigorous programs in both the liberal arts and sciences as well as professional conservatory training programs in the visual, performing, and theatre arts—the quality of which is guaranteed by the College’s association within the State University of New York (SUNY) System. This range of opportunity makes Purchase College a fantastic choice for the student who has a variety of interests.

Purchase Students are encouraged to seek answers “outside the box” of academics. Commonly referred to as the “quirky” SUNY, Purchase College is an inclusive, diverse, and sustainable community. The motto “Think Wide Open” is a phrase that speaks to Purchase’s focus on the creative process and intellectual curiosity.