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I Changed my Major

Already in Middle School I had decided to be a French major in college. I took every class offered in high school. Maybe I aimed to teach, become a translator, or work in France. Things took a different twist when I got to college. Sure, freshman year I took French and declared it as my major. I also took a variety of art classes as that was a secondary interest of mine all throughout school. I declared practical arts as my new major. I didn’t think that I could support myself on my art unless I became a commercial artist. It is an entirely different electronic field. It’s a good thing I kept on changing my major at that stage in my college career.

Why and how do students pick a major anyway? They are no doubt drawn to certain subjects like a magnet. It may or not be correlated with a specific job down the road. You find that you simply are drawn to certain teachers and courses at the exclusion of all else. Many students I talk to now tell me that selecting a major “just happens.” Most colleges and universities have strict course requirement in the interest of a broad education. Something exciting can therefore fall into your lap.

Well sophomore year, it happened to me again. I had abandoned French and art, but I fell in love with art history. I had never heard of it before but it miraculously utilized my French and fine art skills while I learned a new body of knowledge that integrated everything on earth: history, culture, taste, and human creation. I had a solid new major junior year that I kept until graduation. I am glad that I stuck with it as it helped me get a four-year graduate school scholarship at UCLA. The art department there was interested in new art history students for advanced degree programs. It took another four years of study, but wonderfully, I was able to obtain a university teaching job upon graduation.

You might think I am fickle as many students go to college with a major already in mind, including medicine, law, engineering, or business. I think the process was rewarding and led to a long career at Arizona State University. I was an educator, researcher, mentor, and advisor to students from eighteen to eighty. Many years later, I took up art collecting for myself as an adjunct to my specialization.  

Carol Kay 01.03.2017 1 156
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  •  Janet Eriksson: 
    I appreciated reading this. It is awesome how your interests unfolded and converged over time. My experience was very similar, as was the experience of many of my friends. To me, happening on a major is simply the start of an amazing journey. Thanks for sharing!
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01.03.2017 (932 days ago)
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