The mid-degree crisis
Falling out of love with your major
There comes a time in every student’s career when they wake up one day and it hits them like a ton of bricks. “Jesus,” they’ll think to themselves, “What the hell am I doing here?”
For some, it’ll come before the first year is even out. You start to notice that some of the familiar faces you had come to expect around your favorite campus hangout or class are no longer there, not really.
They’ve become ghosts, much like their ambitions and initial preconceptions of the university experience. It could boil down to a number of things when it happens.
The program, while appealing, may not be offering the kind of satisfying work that it presented before signing up. For others, it may be a financial issue. Or maybe they have just come to loathe what they worked so hard to be good at.
Rebecca Scholter — now a fine arts student at the University of Calgary after having an initial encounter with geography as her major — explained that her decision to switch programs came after taking some time away from school.
“The more time I took off, the more I realized that I’m really going to hate myself if I don’t just (make the change),” she said.
Taking some time off to plot out your next move seems to be the most preferred plan of action. There’s nothing quite like a stint back in the workforce to really motivate you to want something better.
It’ll be even more convincing if you get sucked into the savage rent-paying, minimum-wage-earning cycle that claims the lives of many young potentials.
“I just had to do it because that’s what I want to do. And if I don’t try it, at least for a bit, I’ll feel like I failed myself,” Scholter said.
The main thing to remember before making such a rash decision is that there are always options.
Mike Lohaus, who switched degrees at ACAD, points out confidently that these kinds of choices can work out for the best.
“It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made,” Lohaus said of changing his major from visual communications to media arts and visual technology.
Making a few tweaks in your scholastic path isn’t actually that difficult and most institutions aren’t sticklers when it comes to credit transferring or lending some sort of advice. That’s what they’re there for, after all.
“It’s kind of a cliché thing to say, but just sit there and reflect and think about where you’re going to be in the next five to 10 years,” Lohaus advised, before adding that those who are not enjoying their programs at all should “cut their losses early.”
If you manage to ask a certain hard-nosed few about the subject, they’ll surely tell you to wait it out and go enjoy a beer at the campus bar. After all, education is only half the battle — the other half is establishing and maintaining relationships with the people around you.
Then, at the very least, if you wind up with a career you don’t fancy you know you won’t be suffering alone.