Written by Grace Schrobilgen.
Graphic by Peyton Cabaniss.
Originally published as part of the Spring 2018 “Rebirth” Issue.
In a school as large as the University of Texas, it’s easy to feel like you aren’t making a difference. These feelings are only exacerbated when you aren’t passionate about what you’re studying or can’t see yourself building a career based on the knowledge you are gaining through your classes. That’s how I felt before I realized that changing my major was an option.
I’m still unsure of the reasoning behind my reluctance to leave the English department. I may have been afraid of admitting that I applied to the wrong program, or perhaps my perfectionistic ways made it hard to accept that I wasn’t excelling or interested in the classes I was taking. Whatever the reason, it took me entirely too long to realize that it was okay to change my mind about my academic path.
I switched from studying English to studying Spanish and Health and Society, meaning I stayed within the College of Liberal Arts and the process was painless. From the outside, it didn’t seem like that big of a change— every class I had taken previously was still going towards my degree. However, I knew that I had hit a turning point. I was excited about school again, and I began researching careers and graduate programs that I had never considered before. Looking back, my anxiety surrounding changing my major along with the empowerment I felt after doing so made me wonder whether students transitioning into the liberal arts from another field felt the same way.
When Sabrina Garcia was applying to college, she only had a loose grasp on what engineers actually did. When she started taking engineering classes at UT, she not only realized that the career path wasn’t one she was passionate about, but that it was causing her severe unhappiness and stress in every moment of her life. When she was a second semester freshman, Dr. David Laude, her chemistry professor, helped her to realize that instead of taking classes she hated and killing her GPA, she could be doing something she loved and pursuing a degree in the liberal arts. This is the path she is on now.
Luckily for Garcia, she realized fairly early on that she needed to change her field of study. She said it was difficult to let go of the coveted swagger of being an engineer at UT, but in the end she is glad she did. Garcia is now pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, which provides a good mix of her science and liberal arts mindsets and allows her to pursue research on female sexuality and sexual experiences.
Through her studies, Garcia says she strives to change the world by “breaking down the existing stigmas surrounding sexuality and to ignite conversations about nonconsensual sexual experiences, which are a wide-spread problem for everyone.” The liberal arts opened Garcia to this more people-oriented form of science and helped her to find a happy medium between her passions, which is what the liberal arts are all about.
Questioning what you want to do with your life is anxiety-inducing to say the least. Change is scary. Thankfully, COLA provides a space for students to be creative and explore their true passions through a diverse set of courses that make them think in new ways. As students, we are given the tools and space to find ourselves and are exposed to careers we never knew existed. I felt like a new person after changing my major because it allowed me to see that there were possibilities beyond the box that I confined myself in as a senior in high school. We all know the cliché that you leave college a different person than when you started. This could not be more true for those who change their major to something that will allow them to change themselves for the better.