Editorial Notebook

There is no shame in changing your major

Coming into college as a new student is one of the most stressful things any young person can do. You’re suddenly thrust into an open world, where rigid schedules don’t exist, and where no one is there to hold your hand. You can choose which classes to take, which classes to actually go to, and how to spend your days outside of class. Gone is the constant threat of parental supervision. Gone is the threat of not getting into college, because hey, you made it. 

Most people come to RPI with a defined career path and a declared major that they anticipate will guide them throughout the rest of their lives. But hey, sometimes things change. Unless you’ve been doing what your major teaches you for most of your life, chances are, you’ll doubt yourself. You’ll question whether or not your path in life is the right one. And that’s okay.

Switching majors in college is not a hard thing. There’s no stigma surrounding it, and for the most part, it’s easy to do. No one’s going to force you to remain in the major you came in with, and on the contrary, people here would rather see you thrive doing what you like. To all the new students just finishing your first month, take a second to re-evaluate your curriculum. If what you’re doing excites you, then stay with it! If it’s hard, but you feel like you’ll do well down the line, keep at it. If you feel lost and don’t feel a draw to your studies, then maybe it’s time to take a step back and look at other options. Take some intro classes the next semester and see if those are more your style. 

When I came into Rensselaer, I was an electrical engineering major. I chose it because my mom started off her career as one, and told me that it would be easy to find a job after graduation. It also served a double purpose: a great pick-up line. “Hi, my name is Serge! Wanna guess my major?” My first semester was a breeze, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would. I was always on the brink of drowning in my ECSE class, and by the end of it, I wanted out. I wanted to go into computer science, and had to become a Computer Systems major to do it. In the end, I’m still struggling—who isn’t?—but at least I’m doing something that I enjoy. I’m also minoring in business, which came as a direct result of me taking intro classes while in my major-exploring phase. The moral of this notebook is: don’t worry things will work out, one way or another. Even if it requires one or two major swaps.