Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Changing Degrees

Most students applying to university don’t really know what they want to do later in life. Students sometimes take gap years to learn more about themselves, or take a general first year at university to see what different fields exist. All of this is normal, and you should not feel ashamed if this happens to you. My journey to where I am now was long and I wished I talked to more people about it so that I could make an informed decision.

I have always been good at math and science, so I was told that I should be in engineering or a related field. I didn't really bother researching what engineering was, and decided to apply for the most difficult sounding engineering there was, Aerospace Engineering (do not do this, always do research).

During my first semester of engineering, I hated it. It wasn't what I expected, so I decided that I would switch my major. At first I thought I would go into a different type of engineering and Sustainable Renewable Energy Engineering sounded intriguing, as I always had a passion for helping the environment. As the year went on, I decided  to leave engineering altogether. So, again without researching or consulting any of my friends or professors I switched into business for my second year.

During my year in business, I felt many different emotions. It was quite a change from engineering, and I didn't know how I felt about that. The classes, for the most part seemed easier, which was not as challenging as I had wanted. The one reason I chose engineering is I didn't like group projects or presentations. Guess what business is full of? Group projects and presentations. I couldn't stand it. I also had a hard time making friends; most of my friends were in engineering, so we had differing workloads. I knew business was not right for me.

At this point I had a difficult decision to make. I knew I would be really behind if I switched again not to mention the additional financial strain. I decided to go to the Student Academic Success Center, which has career counselors, and they really helped me. If you are thinking of changing your  major, I would highly recommend talking to as many people as possible before you do so. You could just be having a rough time and you don’t want to make any rash decisions... like I did.

After lots of contemplating and weighing benefits, I decided to switch back into engineering but in a different stream. I am now in Software Engineering and am loving it! It isn't the same as other types as engineering, which fits me perfectly. Software Engineering has a wide range of opportunities, which I am really attracted to. I find it fascinating that you can make your own tic-tac-toe game with the computer playing the opponent! I find the main differences (so far) between aerospace and software engineering, is the lack of Mechanics and related courses. I remember taking that in my first year of engineering, and I realized that being in aerospace, I would typically be doing work related to that. I enjoy that I can still be in engineering, and that my lack of interest in mechanics doesn't change that.

It took a lot of time to find where I belong and I still have lots of decisions to make such as, what parts of software engineering I am most interested in, but what's important is that I am now sure of my choice of major.

If you aren't happy in your current major or are looking to make the right choice the first time around my advice to you is this: talk to as many people as you can, go see a guidance counselor, talk to professors and students that are in the fields that you are interested in, do research and gather as much information as you can. You may have misconceptions about certain fields but you won't know until you investigate. If you want to do something but are worried that it will be a set back, go for it anyways! You decide what you want to do and no one else. It may take some time to find out where you belong but time doesn't matter, do whatever makes you happy! Most importantly, don’t let people tell you what you would be good in, make the decision that is best for you.

Bronwyn is a second year Software Engineering student. When she isn't studying, she is either reading books or playing video games. She loves Star Wars.