I’ve had 5 majors, and that’s okay

I never thought having multiple college majors would be viewed as a bad thing until I shared my history on the first day of my journalism class. I told my professor and classmates that I have had five different majors, and I watched jaws hit the floor.

Questions arose and I realized my path was so unconventional that it seemed wrong. Before you start to worry, or feel bad for me, I want you to know that I wouldn’t change a thing. Having five majors is what led me here, and I have never been happier. How this happened is a chain reaction of events that have allowed me to welcome change and see it as an opportunity.

I won’t disagree that I appear indecisive, but after high school was the only time this observation was true. At 17-years-old, I was expected to make my biggest life decision yet, and it felt like attending college was already decided for me.

I loved science, so I practically closed my eyes and picked biochemistry as a major. By the third day I looked in the mirror and asked, “What are you doing with this major?” Dumbfounded with no answer, I dropped out of college the next day. With the pressure of going back to school, I soon jumped into a dental assisting program at a trade school where I graduated 10 months later.

I loved my full-time job, but the COVID-19 pandemic took that away. During this strange time, I decided to give college another try. I enrolled in the dental hygiene program at the University of New Haven, where I learned watching someone cut gums was fine, but doing it induced a panic attack.

A national survey from Strata Education Network said 36% of college graduates wished they chose a different major. I was not willing to be part of this statistic, so before it was too late I took my love for healthcare and changed my major to health sciences. The classes I took taught me so many amazing(ly awful) things about American healthcare and suddenly I started all of my conversations with “Did you know?”

I soon realized my true passion was telling people about healthcare, not working in it. I wanted to introduce things to people and influence them. By the end of the semester, I made my final switch to join the communication department, and I have experienced a passion like no other.

While I feared being judged for pursuing yet another major, the fear of spending my life wishing I had done things differently overcame all other fears. There is no life handbook that says you must enter college at 18-years-old and graduate in 4 years. In fact, there is no life handbook at all, yet it feels like there is until you detour off the usual path and realize you’re still on track.

According to the Education Data Initiative –– a team of researchers collecting data about the U.S. education system –– found that it takes the average student 20 years to pay off student loan debt. Since I’m not the “average student,” it will likely take me longer. I will live the length of my life two more times before the U.S. Social Security Administration says that I am eligible to retire. I refuse to spend that time in a career paying back my inevitable student loans with thoughts of what-ifs. I can’t tell you where I would be if I followed what was expected of me, but I can tell you that’s a what-if I don’t mind not knowing.