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He Said/She Said

Heights Editors

Published: Sunday, February 23, 2014

Updated: Sunday, February 23, 2014 23:02

I am a sophomore who’s not happy with my major, but I’m afraid to switch because I might not have enough time to finish my requirements if I start all over again. How can I know if I should stick to what I started with or take a leap of faith?

He Said: 

Firstly, evaluate how many Advanced Placement credits you have and how much of the University core you still have left to complete. You have completed three semesters at Boston College—37.5 percent of your undergraduate life. If you have not done so already, prepare a four-year trajectory chart that delineates all of your requirements and list of completed classes. Make sure you know that if you were to switch majors, you would be able to complete your requirements on time. Also, keep in mind that you will have to live with the idea that you wasted time and valuable credits on a major you will not be completing.  

Most importantly, make sure you are not making a rash decision because you are intimidated by a difficult course or some motivational speaker convinced you to “follow your heart.” Take all of Spring Break to think about the repercussions of your decision, both in the short and long runs. Your decision is also highly dependent on the major you are looking to switch to. Ask yourself if that major will afford you with a more profitable career in the future and try to predict your academic success in that major. It is highly important to strike a balance between finding a subject you are passionate about, but one that is also worth the BC tuition rate. Talk with your parents, your peers, and your academic advisor. Personally, I hold my parents’ opinions in the highest regard because they are paying for my education and always look out for my best interests. College is about both self-discovery and academic success—do not compromise one for the other, but be sure to leave BC with a practical degree. 

She Said: 

When it comes to academics at BC, I’ve found there is no such thing as an easy answer. You can look to others for guidance on which professors take attendance or to find the perfect history core, but that’s about it. Each student’s path is entirely his or her own.

That being said, the decision to change majors is a highly individualized one. You must take into account all you have accomplished in your academic career thus far, and how much you can carry over should you decide to take the “leap of faith.” How much of the core have you completed? Have you nearly finished the first major you seek to drop, or have you barely started? Have you considered picking up a minor instead of switching majors, or making your current major a minor instead? How different are the two subjects—could you combine what you have already done with what it is you actually want to do?

This final question is important in terms of factoring in your quality of life moving forward. Changing majors is absolutely feasible—if you’re willing to put in the extra effort. Will the change mean you have no room in your schedule for the next two years? Will you have to overload? Are you willing to take the extra courses in order to study what you love, not just fulfill a degree?

Take the first step: Meet with your advisor. In addition, I would suggest meeting with an advisor or a contact in the department in which you now wish to pick up a major. If you’re willing and able, take that leap of faith. You will not regret doing what you love.

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