To say that I had no idea of what I wanted to major in when I applied to college would be inaccurate – I actually had negative idea. I was still just trying to comprehend the fact that my classes and subject matter wouldn’t be predetermined for me like they had been for my entire life prior. If you feel like you’re in a similar place, I promise you’ll be alright! I’m proof that it’s totally alright to change things up as you go. After choosing Naz, mostly for its highly rated faculty, small class size, and community feel, I started doing some research on major offerings and stumbled upon communications. I knew it would be a great fit because it would allow me to use both my practical and creative sides, however, being the hyper-indecisive person I am, I didn’t make the call to Academic Advisement over the summer to adjust my major and showed up to orientation undeclared.
Although I was major-less until early October when I finally resolved my commitment issues and declared communications, I did have a minor. I was invited to the Honors Program, a really unique opportunity at Naz, which counts as a minor and gives students the chance to research an interdisciplinary topic of their choice and write a thesis paper their junior or senior year. For half of my first semester at Naz, I took an honors orientation course where we dove deeper into the Liberal Arts and talked more about what we could expect from the thesis project. (Spoiler alert: I didn’t stick with the Honors Program, but it’s a really great opportunity that you should look into!)
Flash forward to April of my second semester, around the time for class registration for the fall semester. I had my major and my minor all set, I should have been happy, right. Wrong. I was huddled over my laptop with 10 tabs open, trying to find a second minor. I had a lot of options but eventually decided on business management. I had thought about majoring in business back when I was looking at colleges, but I (wrongly) assumed it would entail a lot of math, something I’ve never been especially good at or a huge fan of. The few classes required for the minor seemed manageable, though, and it was very compatible with communications.
I somehow managed to make it through Fall 2016 without rocking the boat, but that just meant I had to do something extra wild in the Spring. When I sat down to map out my final two years in college, I realized my “University in the High School” (courses offered senior year that count as SUNY college credits) and AP transfer credits had pushed me a lot further ahead than I originally thought. Long story short, I had four semesters to fill and not four semesters left of required classes to take. A lot of people in that situation may have started getting psyched about graduating early, but I had planned and budgeted for four years at Naz, so why not make the most of it? I contemplated a Legal Studies minor (and actually took one class towards it) but it didn’t feel right. I brainstormed a little more and began to wonder just how many more classes I would need for a business major opposed to a minor. The answer was enough to round out my schedule with room to spare. Scrolling though the requirements, all of the “scary” math classes I actively avoided two years earlier didn’t seem so bad anymore and I submitted the paperwork a week later.
Most recently, I’ve decided to swap out my Honors Program minor for a digital marketing and design one. I love writing and I plan to do it for most of my life, but a thesis isn’t necessarily up my ally. On the other hand, I’ve found through my communications classes that I really love designing and developing visual content and I would love to formally learn more and further develop my skills. I learned about the digital marketing and design minor when I created marketing materials for it during my internship last semester (read about that here!). It was created as an intersection between the Communication and Media and Visual Communication and Design Departments for communication students who want more background in design (a very useful skill in the industry) and for VCD majors who may want to work in a marketing or communications firm. I’m planning to take my first design class next semester and I couldn’t be more excited.
Looking back, I’m a little shocked by how all over the place I was but I know I’m not alone. So many students don’t know what they want to do right away or think they know and change their minds. In the first year or two of college you overhear “I’m changing my major” on campus just as often as you do “what do they have tonight at the dining hall?” or “it’s cold/rainy/snowy, let’s take the tunnels.” One thing is for sure, I never would have found my way without the support I have at Naz. It’s really easy to find information on various majors and minors and the faculty in every department are more than happy to answer any questions if you reach out to them. I actually met my business major advisor when I took her class to satisfy a core requirement and she was willing to sit down with me to go over the business curriculum and to make sure I had all the right information and would definitely be able to make it work before I declared. I’m extremely lucky to have two major advisors who care so much about my success and to go to a school that lets its students feel things out and find their way to their life’s work, no matter how many paths they go down before getting there.