It’s OK to Change Your Major and Your Mind

Studies show that nearly 80 percent of university students change their major at least once.

I planned to be different than the statistics and stick with my major the entire duration of college. Beginning freshman year as a psychology major, I started down the path to become a counselor. The classes were fascinating and engaging. I especially loved learning about social psychology and development psychology.  

But at the end of freshman year, I wondered, am I in the right field?

At a family reunion the summer following freshman year, I talked with an uncle about college and careers. He’s a successful CPA and accounting professor, and he asked me if I’d considered a business degree.

I balked at the idea because I thought business people only cared about money and sales. No longer sure if I wanted to become a therapist, I said, “I care about people and I want to help them. So I’m a psychology major.” My uncle told me something that changed the course of my life:

“You can be in business and care about people, too.”

That was a new idea to me!

We talked about a possible career in human resources (HR), and the next semester I changed my major to business administration. Later in college, I completed a year-long human resources internship and planned to go full-time into HR upon graduation. I won a scholarship for future HR professionals, interviewed HR managers and experts (more info on informational interviews here), and read industry articles and news.

But at the end of senior year, I felt a strong pull towards marketing. I talked myself out of pursuing marketing because I thought marketers only cared about sales and money.

I didn’t think I could care about people and help them if I was a marketer.

HR was clearly the only business path where I could care for others, I thought. How could I be a Christian and a marketer?

Two weeks before I graduated from college, a marketing professional guest lectured in my advertising and promotion class. Guess what she spoke about?

Being a Christian in marketing!

I listened attentively to every word she said. This woman had worked at her company for twenty years, since graduating from college herself. She had grown with the advertising agency, traveled, attended conferences, and represented nationally-syndicated radio hosts to radio stations all over the country.

The best part? A huge piece of her job was practicing emotional intelligence, working behind the scenes, and making sure everything regarding radio was always taken care of for her clients. That sounded like everything I’d ever done or wanted to do.

She ended her presentation with:

“We’re looking for a full-time person to join our team.”

I took at least five pages of notes, with stars and hearts and exclamation points throughout. I had never heard of a Christian advertising agency, but I wanted to know more.

As soon as class dismissed, I rushed up to the speaker, introduced myself, gave her my card (more on creating cards even if you’re not out of college or your career is in transition coming soon), and asked how I could apply for the open position.

As soon as we finished the conversation, I speed-walked to my dorm, powered up my laptop, and submitted my resume and cover letter. It was 9:45 PM and my adrenaline was racing. I couldn’t go to sleep. This could be exactly what I was made for, I thought. But I tried not to get my hopes up.

Almost two weeks later, between final exams, I interviewed for the first time at the agency. It was the most comfortable and meaningful interview I had experienced. The president and I talked for an hour about life and work, calling, and education. I fell even more in love with the agency and its people.

A couple weeks later, I returned for a second interview – with the entire six-person marketing team. I was intimidated! But it was also a great conversation.  And a couple weeks after that, I started at the company.

I worked there for four and a half years after college. The agency provided an incredible opportunity to learn about social media marketing, email marketing, networking, negotiating, innovating, and building and maintaining meaningful relationships.

The four and a half years flew by. I planned to stay there forever. I loved the work and the people. But a strong tug to move back to my home state and reconnect on a deeper level with my family led me to a new job. 

Now I work in the marketing and communications department at a local credit union, and I love it. The skills I learned in past jobs, both during college and at the agency, are helpful as I complete my work each day.

It is fascinating to learn about the financial industry and help others do the same. And the best part? I’m still helping people. I get to write about financial topics to educate people to be smart with their money. This is another job I never knew existed, but here I am –– loving it!

Credit unions focus on their local communities, investing money back into the communities where they’re located. Their customers are actually called “member-owners,” because they own a piece of the credit union. Credit unions offer the same products as big banks, but often at better rates. I get to write about that to help the public understand that. It’s fulfilling, because I didn’t know any of this a year ago! As I learn, I get to help the general public learn about the credit union movement.

If I rewind to freshman year of college as a psychology major, I could have never imagined this is where I’d be. I would have probably been angry if someone told me this is where I’d be, because I like plans, and none of this was in my plan at the time. 😊

But it was in God’s.

And it’s another example of how His plans are always way more interesting than the ones I fabricate for myself.

My challenge to you is to talk to people from all kinds of fields and industries. The job you’re made for may be one you haven’t ever heard of. (Again, conducting informational interviews is a fabulous way to meet people and discover opportunities!)

And the job you’re made for may change over time. I believe that God leads us to exactly where we need to be in every facet of our lives –– if we let Him.

As we grow, we learn new skills and develop new passions. I’ve found it’s important to do the best job we possibly can in the position we’re in while not putting all your metaphorical eggs in that one basket.

As Hannah Montana said, “You can change your hair and you can change your clothes. You can change your mind; that’s just the way it goes. You can say goodbye and you can say hello. But you’ll always find your way back home.”

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