A Major Change

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Top of Program of Study Declaration sheet (found on the Intranet)

By Danielle Clark

Since middle school, writing and English were two of my strengths. Writing novels, short stories, and poems were some of my favorite things to do. If I ever had a spare moment in school, I’d jot down plot details for a novel I was typing up. Often on weekends and vacations, I’d be up until 2 a.m. adding scenes to my novels. It was no surprise that when I enrolled at BSU, I chose to be an English major with a writing concentration. I figured I would eventually pursue some type of technical writing, editing, or journalism. But then I started changing my mind after I participated in my high school’s internship program.

For six weeks toward the end of my senior year, I was an intern reporter at my local newspaper. Since one of the main reporters had been relocated, I assumed her job until a new reporter was hired. Between classes and homework, I was in the newsroom, monotonously pouring out stories. Whenever I wasn’t out getting interviews, I was confined to a cubical, writing and editing over and over and over again. Feedback from my audience was positive. I was doing my job well, but I didn’t feel as though I was making proper use of my time. I wanted to help people one-on-one, not necessarily behind a cubical.

To me, journalistic style writing was too bland and emotionless because it’s supposed to be just the facts. Some people enjoy it, which is great for them. I commend their efforts. However, I just can’t do it for the rest of my life. I had been writing long enough to know which style I liked most—creative, obviously. Though I was good at it, I knew making my career depend solely on creative writing wasn’t a wise choice. Many have told me that writing nothing but novels, which I wish I could do, isn’t a completely dependable source of income. It is competitive, costly—paying for agents, editors, publishers, etc.—and unreliable. My books would have to be bestsellers or at least somewhat popular for me to make a steady income. If I personally wanted to be an author of creative fiction, I’d have to write on the side.

After taking time to think about my future over the summer, talking with professors at BSU, and taking some major/career tests, I came to a conclusion. I needed to change my major. My personal qualities and strengths matched up with both the education major and the health studies major. From there, I spoke with friends and family while also doing some research on possible careers. Knowing this switch was inevitable, I had already molded my second semester schedule in a way that would allow me to kick-start a new major in either education or the Movement Arts Health and Leisure Studies, otherwise known as MAHPLS, in my second fall semester. After some deliberation, I picked the health studies major and began the process of switching.

For those who are thinking about changing majors and are unsure of what to do, I logged into my student portal, went to the Intranet, clicked Departments, scrolled down to Registrar, clicked printable forms (under Forms on the left side), selected the Program of Study Declaration link (under Undergraduate Student Forms), and then I printed it out. From there, all I had to do was go to the department head of the major I wanted to change to and get a signature. The Academic Achievement Center answered all my extra questions. I suggest stopping by there before changing majors.

Then, I met with my former advisor to discuss if changing was a feasible step for me. Luckily, it was. Since I changed my major right before advising started, a new advisor was assigned to me. Like everyone else, I made arrangements to discuss classes and future major requirements.

I’m glad I took time out to think though my change in major. I still need to take time and work out what I specifically want to do with this major. Maybe I’ll add a minor. Maybe I’ll double major. It’ll take time, but that’s fine. That’s what college is for—helping me shape my future. I have three more years to work out the finer details.

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