Changing My Major

Freshman Year of College

I am attending Mercyhurst University in Erie, Pennsylvania. It’s a beautiful campus that’s nice and up to date. However, it also keeps a nice, authentic historical side, especially the beautiful chapel with stained glass windows, with an interior of majestically painted biblical setting on the ceilings. My reason for choosing Mercyhurst was due to the fact it had a music therapy program in which not a lot of colleges have. Also, I liked the small population,  which had a nice sense of community. I felt very welcomed.

When I started out my classes for the first week, they seemed fairly easy, but of course I knew it would get harder, and therefore I’d have to study hard and work harder to succeed. But what I didn’t sign up for was having multiple panic attacks due to a subject matter I had trouble with. I found out in college that I have clinical panic disorder, but it’s always just shown as a general anxiety disorder.

My reach classes were just fine. I had no struggle with them compared to my music classes.

Let’s keep in mind I have a deep passion for music. I started singing at age five and I’ve practically lived the show life, being in up to 32 productions by age 19. I’ve always enjoyed singing more than anything, but I also had a great interest in the brain and wondering why people are the way they are. I started studying neuroscience and psychology at age nine. You're probably wondering why I started looking at this so young, but ever since the age of six, the dream was to one day make it into Harvard. I was the science geeky kid who made experiments in her yard in case they exploded.

Now that you know a bit of my background, I can tell you why I decided to switch my major. I have been struggling in Theory and Aural Skills, which are two required classes for music majors. I had no background in these kinds of classes before, but most people in the class did have a background. Because majority wins, the professor would go at a fast pace to go over things, so I was kind of left in the dark, and I would not give up, because singing and music is my life. I would study hard. I went to a tutor twice a week. I would do all of my homework. I asked peers in the class for help. I never did well on the quizzes or tests. In fact, I failed most of them, and this would take the biggest emotional toll on me. No matter how much I studied or how hard I tried, it was going nowhere.

I’ve questioned changing my major on multiple occasions, but sticking to the fact I actually was going to change my major was hard. I still loved the music therapy class and I did well in it. I would get excited for performance of my voice. Performing is just something I’m very comfortable with, and the fact I love music so much is what tore me between changing my major. But if I feel like every time I walk into Theory and Aural skills that I’m walking into hell every day, it’s not worth it. The feeling of constant failure broke me. I tried everything I could and I knew if I kept with this major, the classes would not get any easier. They would become even less enjoyable than they were. Another factor of me changing my major was money issues. I’ve been on a tight budget and what I really needed was a job but, you see, when you are a music major, you have about seven classes a day. And a job just really didn’t fit in my schedule. So I’ve literally been living on coins and the skin of my teeth.

“If I’m going to change my major, what will I change it to.” This was a question I’d ask myself. It was a little hard to figure out because of my several interests. Psychology was one of my top interests and I took a class my first semester: Intro to Psychology. I found that psychology class was my favorite class—something to look forward to in the day. I thought, because I enjoy learning about human behavior and the anatomy of the brain, that psychology would be a perfect fit for my new major. And now it’s settled. Next semester I will be majoring in psychology. I already feel really excited for my psychology classes. The class I am very excited for is Abnormal Psychology. It’s a main focus on mental and physical disabilities and psychology. When I get into the field, my main focus will be on children with disabilities and the study of behavioral psychology. I feel now I am on the right path. I’ll never stop making music, that’s for sure. I will always keep writing songs and singing. Maybe I’ll even give voice lessons as a side job, but music therapy is just not going to work for me. The requirements and expectations they have for me are just too much. I’ve tried and fought for this major, but only to realize that my fight and hard work was going nowhere. So I needed a change. I changed my major before I fell into the deep hole of depression and feeling of failure got to me. No more mornings of me not wanting to ever wake up, because I’m so excited already to go to my psychology classes and the second freshman semester has not yet started.

I’m glad I caught the fact that music therapy didn’t fit me before I kept going, because I’d have to stay in college longer than I’d wish.

Changing my major wasn’t a hard process. All I had to do was talk to my advisor and switch my advisor to someone in the psych department. I just had to have my old advisor sign me off to a new advisor and I would sign to my new major. So, if you're worried about the process of changing your major, don’t be. It’s way easier than you think. 

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