Switching majors pays off in the end for graduates

Mady Etzel

College is a time for making friends and having a good time, but picking the right major is one of the biggest decisions students must make – a decision that, for many, can be difficult.

When it comes to deciding a major, many students have a backwards view of how to do it, Career Services associate director Carla Owens said.

“The majority of students declare a major before they figure out a career,” Owens said. “Individuals need to figure out their careers and then the major that best compliments that.”

Although switching majors can be a pain, students such as soon-to-be graduate Lauren Davis knew it would be rewarding in the end. After originally coming to Kent to be an architect major, she said she realized it wasn’t for her.

“I didn’t like that studio work was so continuous,” Davis said. “I felt constantly stressed because I knew that even once I was finished with a project, there was always room for improvement. I rarely felt accomplished.”

Realizing she was headed down the wrong path, Davis said she went to advisors to seek help. After she felt she received very little help, Davis thought she would have better luck on her own.

“I did a lot of research in different industries, and ultimately I made the final decision. I decided to pursue an actuarial mathematics degree with a minor in finance,” Davis said.

“I like math is because it is so cut and dry. While I enjoyed the modeling and sketching involved with architecture, I didn’t like the fact that the industry is now mainly digital.”

Although Davis was nervous about switching because she had already spent two in years in the wrong program, she said she knows she made the right choice. By taking summer classes, she stayed on track and will graduate in four years.

One student with a passion for graphic design ended up discovering a different love once she came to college. Recent graduate Alicia Durewicz said her passion as a graphic design major just wasn’t enough.

“Graphic design is a hobby of mine and I will always love it, but not as a career,” Durewicz said. “I knew to change my major during freshman year when all my friends kept asking me questions fit for a doctor or nurse. I realized I had a love for genetics and biology and that I could make a career out of studying DNA.”

Every once and a while Durewicz said she wonders where she would be if she had stuck to visual communication design, but ultimately knows she made the right decision.

“Sometimes the work is dull and tedious, but there are those moments, like when your experiments fail month after month, and then finally you get data that makes sense, I’m reminded that the last five years of undergrad were worth it,” Durewicz said.

In another situation, one student’s decision to change her major brought her to Kent State as a transfer student.

Originally attending University of Dayton, senior Melissa Ruppert realized – twice – that she was in the wrong major.

“I thought I wanted to be a teacher my whole life, but I was very wrong,” Ruppert said. “Then after switching from teaching to psychology, I realized how much I hated that major. Classes were boring, the material was dull and it felt like common sense.”

Through the support of family, friends and a mentor who works in the fashion industry, Ruppert realized she could pursue her passion for fashion. This also meant making a transfer from Dayton to Kent State to attend one of the top fashion merchandising programs.

“I was taking a serious risk transferring from a school I loved to come to Kent to pursue a major that I could potentially be wrong about,” Ruppert said. “But I did tons of outside research on the major and learned what I would do with it after graduation.

“Now, here I am, graduating in December, and I can’t wait to dive into the world of merchandising.”

Students struggling to decide a major or wish to switch majors can make an appointment with a career counselor at the Career Services Center.

Contact Mady Etzel at [email protected].