I still don't know for sure what I plan on doing after UMass, or even what I'm doing for the Honors Thesis yet, but I'm confident that I will eventually figure it out due to the flexibility and abundance of support that is present here. Definitely take advantage of the resources you have!
Almost everyone has some type of story or motivation of why they chose their major. Whether it be due to basic interest, future prospects, or pursuing their passions. With the multitude of options, I can easily see how it can be difficult to choose.
Additionally, some folks simply don’t have a story or are still exploring different majors - and that is perfectly okay too. After all, I don’t blame them, as UMass Amherst offers nearly 200 official majors along with endless possibilities with the Bachelor’s Degree with Individual Concentration (BDIC).
However, I hope that by sharing why I chose my major, those exploring majors can draw insights to find their own path, while those already declared can reflect on why they chose their field.
Throughout my high school years, I was always more enthusiastic about history and English classes than I was about math or science classes. So, my aversion to math (sorry math majors!) helped me narrow down my search to majors within the College of Social Behavioral Sciences (SBS) and the College of Humanities and Fine Arts (HFA).
Unsurprisingly, this trend has continued throughout my undergraduate career. For those that relate, you can actually take a Math Exemption Test to cover a Gen-Ed requirement! It doesn't give you credit, but at least you can make up the credit by taking a class more amicable to your tastes.
Dreams Of Change
Like many of my peers, in my formative years I witnessed a lot of injustice in the world around me: racial, economic, gender, environmental and more. I felt very frustrated about what I was seeing and couldn’t do too much about it yet as a high school student.
So, I set out to begin my undergraduate career (right out of the peak of the *arguably still ongoing* pandemic that exacerbated these injustices) with the resolve to pick a major that I could effectuate the most change in. With that drive solidified, I first chose legal studies, as what better vehicle than the law itself could change the society in which we live?
Perhaps I can say I was lucky, as I was instantly enamored with the content of my classes and consistently supported by advising in SBS and CHC in pursuit of my major.
Due to their help, I was able to easily find out what my requirements were, and where I needed to go when I needed help in the department. For all students and those choosing a major especially, I highly recommend checking in with any advising offices available to you.
While I felt that legal studies was going great for me and definitely practical with the future prospect of law school, I felt as though I needed to couple it with something that allowed me to explore similar, yet different interests.
So, during my second semester, I added political science as a secondary major, and I couldn't be happier!
It's definitely okay to change your major or career path throughout as you take new courses and your interests change. Also, as you meet new mentors, they will help you synthesize your plan for life after UMass so you can feel confident and safe about the future.
If you're having any trouble picking a major or considering changing majors, you can access Navigate to talk to your academic support team. Personally, I check in twice a semester at least to ensure that I'm on the right track.