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Voices of ACES Blog

Why switching majors was the best decision I could have made

Girl sitting on the Illini Field

My college decision relied heavily on whether the university I chose had an architecture or interior design program. Originally, I came into the University of Illinois in the architecture program. I quickly realized it wasn’t for me. The fear and anxiety that set in after that realization was astounding. You will hear over and over before and during your years at university that it’s okay to switch majors and that everything will work itself out. No one talks about the fear that comes with it. 

In my second semester of freshman year, I set up a meeting with my architecture TA to discuss the possibility of leaving. She told me that I was doing great but if I felt it wasn’t for me, I had her encouragement to find what I wanted. This meeting left me with another wave of anxiety because now I didn’t know what to do. I wanted her to tell me. I was terrified, but no one can make the decision for you. Because I was so scared, I spent another semester in the architecture program. 

After a long semester, I was itching to do something else. I knew this wasn’t what I wanted and that I need to do research to determine where I should go. Throughout the semester I met frequently with my advisor, who gave me lots of choices, possibilities, and opportunities to take a different direction. I spoke to those around me, those who knew me, to see what they thought. At the time, I was working as a leasing consultant and my manager asked me how school was. We dove into where I was at and what I wanted. She suggested advertising or communications. I took those suggestions very seriously, going home and researching different paths and what classes I would have to take. I found that the course topics surrounding those majors were enticing. My first semester of sophomore year, I took prerequisite classes in communication and advertising for entry into either college if I found that I wanted one of the two. 

In the realm of advertising, there are some business courses that you take. In one of my business classes, I learned so much about what I could do in the communications and advertising side. This class shone the light on what I genuinely wanted to do. I realized I want to work on the advertising side: I want to look at what’s working and what’s not, how we can show the consumer what we have to offer, and how can we make their experience better. 

Writing this now is a full circle moment because the business class I decided to take helped make the connections necessary to get my foot in the door as a communications and marketing ambassador for the College of ACES. Not only that, but I enjoy the content in my classes and look forward to learning the material daily. In the long run, everything worked out, but it was definitely a very rocky and scary couple of semesters. 

My advice if you are unsure if you want to switch majors is to dig deep into why you want to switch. Understanding why you want to switch will really help you decide if it’s the right choice for you. Do your research: look at the different majors, the classes, and most importantly the degree requirements. Utilize your degree audit. It will show which of your classes satisfy what requirements and what classes you will need to graduate. If you are unsure of what that is, ask your advisor! Lastly, trust yourself and the process. While it may be scary, understand that in the end you are doing what’s best for yourself. Even if you have to switch three or four times, do it. It is better to say you tried it and didn’t like it than to hope you would’ve done it.