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I chose a wrong major. I need a help. I am lost.

I am a chemical engineering student. It's my 3rd year in college but I hate my major now.
I love mathematics, numbers but I love traveling, meeting people and learning new languages too. I want to start a new major but I want to be sure that I will love to work in this field. I don't want to loose more years. I feel lost. I really need a help or any advice that can really help me making the right decision.
I used to be a class A student in my school but when I started college I didn't find interest in my major so I am a class B student in my college.
I must note that I can't afford expensive universities (tuitions) unless I have a financial aid or student job or any scholatship.
I am thinking about starting a civil engineering major (but I am not sure) which means I have another 5 years to study. I don't mind studying abroad.
I really need a help please !! #college #engineering #majors #help #financial-aid #advisor

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Matthew’s Answer

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Hi Scarrlet - thanks for writing in and asking for help. I am a chemical engineering major (Umass, '07) that also had a hard time getting through the junior year. Things can get really tough with course work and stress about finding a job and a figuring out what to do with your career. So remember you aren't alone!


I liked that in your question you mentioned you like math, travel, and learning new languages. These sound like great skills for a chemical engineer in industry. As you probably know young chemical engineers are often sent on travel assignments to gain experience, and if you have strong math and language skills you would be an asset to teams abroad. I would recommend that if you have a chance, head over to your career counseling office and find someone you like working with. They have all the resources and experience to help you be sucessful. I went to a counselor in college and they helped me identify internships, jobs, or other classes that would be a good fit with your interest.


I hope that helps.

Thank you comment icon Dear Mr. Pearlson is it considered a waste of time if I started civil engineering from 0 now ? I am 20 years old now Scarlett
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Elizabeth’s Answer

Hi Scarlett! The first thing to do is don't panic! As a junior it is a little frustrating to realize you don't like your major - especially when you are so close to the finish line - but the fact that you are acknowledging the issue rather than plugging along until graduation is a big, important step!


The first thing I would do is talk to either your academic advisor or a professor (sometimes they are one in the same) and talk about your situation. Why are you having these feelings? What is it you don't like about the major? Is there anything you do like? If you find you are still interested in a certain part of engineering, it might be easy to switch from chemical to electrical or you can even go into mathematics, statistics, or accounting. You may find this article helpful too: http://www.businessinsider.com/best-jobs-for-people-who-love-math-2013-12?op=1


Because you are already in your 3rd year, you may want to see what summer and winter courses are available too. This will help you make up some time so you don't have to add more years to your education.

Thank you comment icon Hi mrs.Elizabeth. I already talked to my advisor about my case. But the reason why I hate my major is that I hated the work field (working in a lab or am industry) because I had the chance to have an internship in an oil laboratory. I hated to stay 6 hrs in the lab. And the fact of having to do the tests, no interaction, no clients, just me and the sample! Scarlett
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Jim’s Answer

Hi Scarlett,


You are never lost. Take a deep breath. Nobody gets everything right the first time they try. First, there are a lot of jobs you can get with a degree in chemical engineering. There are plenty of jobs for chemical companies that require travel - you don't just have to work in a lab, there are chemical engineers who need to travel to customers to make sure products are working correctly, identify and troubleshoot product issues out in the field, and who need to oversee manufacturing facility operations.


What specifically do you not like about your major now? Is it a hard class or professor, or fears about whether you'll like working as a chemical engineer?

Thank you comment icon hi, I don't like working with chemical things! Scarlett
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Priya’s Answer

Hi Scarlett,
Is it possible to shadow or attend an event with a civil engineer so you can get a feel for the job? Maybe following someone through their day, or even asking more about the job can help you see if you will love it or not. You can also watch videos about the job online and see if it helps. I know it is so tough to have to start a new major, and can be scary. I think it is great, though, that you are having the courage to explore and find the right job for you! I think it could be very painful to finish the one you are on now if you do not love it. Also, know that it is never too late to explore something else or try something new. Wishing you the best of luck!
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Steve’s Answer

There are two approaches to consider: 1) If you can keep your grades up, tough out the chemical engineering major and just finish your degree; 2) "fall back" to a lesser degree where you can use most of your existing courseware to fulfill your graduating requirements. In the end, you need to finish university.


My own story is similar to yours. I planned to major in computer science and get a minor in business but the esoteric classes at the higher levels of computer science just were not interesting--in some cases, it felt as if my professors were barely competent on the material. Of course, this was in the 70s when computing was rather new. I found I was more interested in the business aspects of computing so I flipped to business as my major. On graduation, I was hired as a programmer where my computing skills were required but in a few short years I found a job at a computing vendor in a role called "sales consultant." The job was perfect for me: helping customers implement our product. In this role, I explained the product to clients as part of the selling effort and then trained them in its implementation. And no college counselor has ever recommended this job, because no one in university knows it exists.


In my experience, educators have little experience outside of academia so they are unaware of the many interesting career choices available. Just because you have a degree in chem engineering doesn't mean you have to do that as a job. But with the degree, you're a prime candidate to work with companies that offer related products.


A university degree is more about learning than it is about getting a job. Few people have pursued careers where their college courses were critical, although clearly a degree in engineering would be required for an engineering job. Don't restart your college plans; revise them--and finish university so you can pursue your dreams.

Thank you comment icon I get my BS in Chemical Engineering too. I was in the same boat as you do. I survived the last two years of my university. My grades sucked, yes, sucked. The reason why i hate this major is because is all about math and word problems. If you like math and problem solving you should be ok. Also, try to get internship in summer and join AIChe is a must. If you get B grades then is ok, once don't get Cs you will be ok. Also, try to build connections, you will be amazed how many people land jobs with low gpas in my major. Just be strong there, you are still alive, what else can you lose? Wu
Thank you comment icon is it considered a waste of time if I started civil engineering from 0 now ? I am 20 years old now Scarlett
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