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I realized I strongly dislike my major. What should I do?

I started college three years ago as an Architecture major (my program is 5 years long). I dreamed to be an architect since I was around 8 years old, so I thought it would my ideal college major... but even after three weeks into my freshman year I realized it wasn't what I really wanted. My parents told me to finish freshman year because maybe I would actually like it. I finished that year and I still didn't liked it, but my parents basically forced me to keep going. Now that I'm already halfway through it, I realized I hate it (so much that, from being in the Dean's list, now I'm in the list of students on academic probation). I'd rather work as a cashier than doing this all my life. Obviously, my parents are not keen with the idea of me dropping out (They told me if I do it, they would disown me and I would be dead for them). Because of all this, I've been battling moderate depression and severe anxiety this last 4 months. I know the semester is almost over (I start finals tomorrow and have no idea of what I will do, because I can't even study without feeling bad). In all this time, the only classes I've actually liked are the ones related to writing and to history. So I told my parents that I want to change majors, and either be an English major or an Art History one. They told me those degrees were worthless (As much as Architecture I guess...) and that I'm immature and stupid for even thinking about it. I guess I gave them so much hope as a child (I skipped 2 grades, used to be a spelling be and participate in math decathlons), that when I chose Architecture as my major they were a little disappointed and now that I want to change it, I've disappointed them a lot more. So, what do you think I should do? Should I drop out/change majors? or should I get my degree in Architecture? #english #majors #architect #choosing-a-major

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Sydney’s Answer

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Hi Mindy,


The good news is, you are at the beginning of your college career! You probably have taken a few classes directly related to architecture, but also probably a few general education classes that will transfer to any major. In addition to the great advise above, I would speak to some professors about various career paths in 1) Architecture 2) English/writing 3) Art history. I know that you are completely over architecture, but maybe you have just had a few difficult classes (or really bad teachers). Ask yourself why you have wanted (until now) to become an architect since you were 8. Do you like creating new things? Are you good at drafting? Maybe it was just a cool idea and now that you are really experiencing the work that goes into being an architect it is not right for you, and that is perfectly okay. But do talk to a few professors before you complete dismiss the idea. They will probably have many examples of different jobs in the field that you could consider.


Also find out what types of careers are available in your other areas of interest. The end goal (the career path) is truly what matters. I was a business major and I had some business classes that were completely boring or extremely difficult (or I had an awful professor), but I pushed through those and now in the business world, the classes I took are only a fraction of what I do on a day to day basis. So my point is, pick the career you love, and yes the classes may be hard, or awful or frustrating, but if you work towards a higher purpose (for example, designing unique residential homes, or teaching 9th grade writing), they will be much easier to get to, regardless of the major you choose.


Even if you switch to a major and career path you love, you will have classes you do not enjoy and that stress you out. That is just how it is. But if you find a good support group (peers in your class, great professors, friends, etc), you can get through anything! And remember, the end goal is not to make a bunch of money, it is to do something that fulfills you and makes the world a better place. I know you will find this, you just have to do what feels right and inspires you, and know that it is okay if this takes some time to figure out. Best of luck!

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Donald’s Answer

Hi Mindy,


I trust you are seriously attending to the depression and anxiety as being in a less than fully functional state may not be the best time to be making major life changing decisions..(or finals)..also, involving trusted advisers in your decision making process is, in my opinion, prudent advice.


After investing three years in this program, you might also take the time to revisit your original motives for entering the program, and how it went from love to hate. What was your vision for your future? What is it now? Write it all down...it helps.


In the end, it is your practiced and proven thought process and problem solving skills that you safely develop in school that may prove to be the most valuable things you take away from this program if you complete it. They will serve you well in any direction you choose long after you've forgotten all those functional elements of architecture you've currently laboring over. Keep in mind, many (maybe most) of those who have degrees in architecture end up in careers far from their original expectations.


If you have the ability to complete the program, and after completing the first two years you've probably demonstrated that you can, you might consider doing just that; not so much to end up as an "Registered Architect" , or for your parents, but to fully develop the analytical, organizational and problem solving skills that are at the core of the architecture process; these skills will serve you well in any organization. Attaining the professional stature associated with the acquisition of a five year Architecture degree may also give you a step up when you enter the job market. In the work world, it makes a difference and it shows a certain tenacity which is very much prized in the business community.


Starting over in another field may turn out to be a costly endeavor, practically, financially and emotionally. If it is simply moving your efforts from something you now "hate".....to something else you "could do"......I'd think about it long and hard...... before making any irrevocable decisions.


In any case, I'd develop a new written plan to move ahead in attaining the goal you decide on, even if you commit to finishing your current program.......you're probably not going to be a happy cashier....


Your parents....they may not want to hear what you don't want to do.....(I didn't when my kids decided to alter their career plans midstream)... especially since your parents have listened to what you did want since you were eight. Maybe if you can articulate what you do want to do, share your plan on how you intend to do it (and pay for it), and why it is now your goal...in a clear, concise and very convincing manner, they will probably at least listen.... if you get them to agree...try sales (only half kidding)....


When you see your kid get into a school to study what she really wants to do, it's very rewarding. To then see her go from Deans List to Depression...its hard. That will be a hard gap to span.


Good luck.

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Oluseyi’s Answer

I applaud your courage, to reach out for help through this medium. I believe ultimately, the strength you need to make this decision resides in you. No one ( not even your counselors or parents, I'm afraid) can decide for you. After all is said and done, summon the courage to make a decision and see it through with conviction. Even your parents will respect that. I believe in you.

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Pam’s Answer

Besides getting some advice from counselors at your current school, go to the community college district you are in for some also. This is a free service since the services of community colleges are paid from resident's taxes. You won't have any commitment to attend there, but they can help you to find a plan of action. If you choose a related field like interior design, many of your classes should transfer.

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Annie’s Answer

That's a tough situation! I think it's great that you're reaching out for other opinions. I would suggest meeting with an academic advisor or career counselor at your university who works with undecided or undeclared students - that individual will be able to give you a broader overview of different majors and maybe help identify one that you didn't even know existed! If you like writing, you might enjoy going into a communications field, like advertising, marketing, or public relations. If you like history, you might enjoy working at a museum, at a university, or even in a government job. In the long run, your major will rarely dictate what jobs you pursue, which is kinda crazy but true! I would also recommend that you read "You Majored In What? Mapping Your Path from Chaos to Careers." It's a really easy, relatable read about navigating your way toward a career from a starting point of uncertainty. Here's the link: http://www.amazon.com/You-Majored-What-Mapping-Career/dp/0452296005
As for your parents - that's a tough situation, especially for us strangers to give advice on, because we don't know your family dynamic. I think you need to have a structured discussion with them, where you share your plan and your concerns and they can share theirs - your university likely has a Counseling Services office or something similar that probably has great resources you could use to prepare for that conversation.
At the end of the day - remember that indecision about majors is something that MOST college students struggle with. You are not alone! Use the resources provided at your university and in your community, and don't be afraid to ask for help or for advice.

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Zaara’s Answer

HI :) It must be so hard to deal with school and all the pressure too. First of all please get some direct support from friends, supportive family members and a counselor. It is so important to feel that you are not alone with this. Glad that you have reached out on this forum. It is so tough and sad not to have the approval of your parents, so sad that they cannot see who you really are. I want YOU to see yourself (see how amazing and smart and driven you are and you can really achieve whatever you put your mind to and you can honor what ever your heart tells you) and allow yourself to become the unique individual with a unique path. I hope you will get excited to explore this unique path that is yours alone and will feel your way thru it with an open heart. You were born to become you! Some people are happy with a set plan and a "conventional"career/life. Clearly you will be required to make your own choices and even though your parents cannot understand them, it is ok, accept that. They can only be who they are. Gather support of all other kinds and know that you only have to answer to your own soul's calling and your own intuition. It is your life and you are here to live it in joy (enjoy!) It is not your job to make your parents' happy. It is their job to make their own life fulfilling. No matter what you did, they would never be happy and satisfied if they are not happy with their own life to begin with. (Now it is about sticking with architecture, then marrying the right person, then living in a certain place that is close enough, big enough, and the list will go on forever......)
Once you gathered some strength I would recommend talking to a trusted professor someone you really like and connect with in your own department and in art (history) writing. See if they can point you to a path that could fuse architecture and your love of writing (eg. architectural history or criticism) or show you the way to completely transition away from architecture. Reach out to professionals you might know or admire, someone who has your dream job. Ask for an informational interview, ask how they did it. Get inspired. Life is amazing and you have so many choices. How would you like to live? What would be the most fun? What is your passion? Follow your bliss!

Thank you comment icon Just saw these two articles about people who switched from architecture: http://www.archdaily.com/770338/art-garfunkel-ice-cube-thomas-jefferson-and-the-pursuit-of-other-non-architectural-interests http://architectsofotherthings.tumblr.com/?og=1 Zaara KittenChops
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Gary’s Answer

Hi,
I am sorry to hear about your struggles. I think there are several things you can do and I will offer some suggestions but the final decision is ultimately up to you and what you feel strongly about - you are an adult and you can/should make decisions about your own future. First, I would suggest talking to you parents and trying to reason with them, explain that this is your future and you do not want to be unhappy about your education/career ... hopefully they will understand and support you - you can also do what you want without parental support/finances...there are grants, loans, etc that will help you pay for your own college. Second, I would talk to your college advisor and meet with them to discuss other options for education/degree and your career...I am sure there are other majors where a lot of your classes will transfer and count towards your new degree plan. Last, think about what you really want in your education and your career and then move in that direction. I wish you the best of luck in your decisions and future...take care.

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Siddharth’s Answer

If you are able to transfer to another major in a related field and graduate earlier in say 4 years instead of 5, you should do it. It sounds like you're at a point where you've already made the decision to change, but are worried about incurring a loss in terms of time spent.

You haven't really stated why you want to change to Art or History. Is it because those were some options that were available to you under these circumstances? If that's the case, changing majors might not be a good choice.

The skills you gained from your architecture degree, can be used immediately for other industries. For example, after graduation you could work in Graphic design or UX design. To do this, you need to start building your portfolio in these areas while fulfilling the requirements of your degree. You can also take on an entirely different career path such as teaching or administration, etc.

I know a lot of architects who have pursued other careers after graduation. So I would suggest you to focus on a path where you can minimize stress, not take on additional financial burdens and graduate from college as soon as possible.

Your degree does not have to define you.
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Zach’s Answer

If your close to finishing your degree finish it. If you have a long way out change degrees. Mechatronics seems to be a good choice from my perspective.


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