Major Decisions

If you are currently a student, I’m sure you have been or are struggling with the task of choosing a major for university. Regardless of where you are in your degree or if you haven’t even started university yet, the process of choosing your major is daunting. Although it seems that making the decision will have detrimental consequences if it’s the wrong choice, that’s simply not the case.

We are asked this question multiple times once we decide to pursue higher education.

Grade 12: September 2016

When I was applying to UVic, I debated over many programs because there was nothing I had particular interest in nor did I know what I wanted to do after graduating university.

I took a psychology class in grade 11, which ended up influencing my decision to choose psychology as my major. Although it was done reluctantly, I knew I didn’t have a better option available.

Since I was little, I’ve had a huge interest in sleep and dreams because every day I’d wake up remembering numerous dreams in vivid detail. I loved the idea of my mind coming up with fascinating stories all on its own while I was asleep. Thus, I was excited to learn more about the processes during an introduction to psychology class. However, that’s where my interest in psychology stopped.

Fast forward to September 2017

Psyc 100A included forums where you had to complete an entry on a topic related to every chapter.

I took my first psychology class at UVic (Psyc 100A). Although I learned about many new concepts, I didn’t find the class eye-openly interesting.

Nevertheless, I endured through the class and continued onto Psyc 100B. After taking the two psychology classes, I realized that sleep and dreams aren’t something that’s heavily discussed or researched today.

In addition, learning about the different dream theories didn’t quench my thirst for knowledge of how dreams really work. I was frustrated and let down but continued taking psychology classes, hoping I could find something else that interested me.

Present: September 2018

My Japanese class homework. Although every major has core classes related to the discipline that you have to take, there’s often room for electives where you can explore other options that count as credits to your degree!

I am currently taking Psyc 251-Mind & Brain and it is one of the most interesting classes I’ve taken so far at UVic. We learn about many processes that form a variety of behaviours and actions we assume are simple and automatic, such as vision and hearing. The class has allowed me to have questions for things I would never have questioned, for example, what does it mean to have an itch?

What happens to the mechanoreceptors under our skin when we scratch the surface and what signals does it send to our brain? Where do the signals go? What are the signals that say “You are itchy here”?

I chose psychology for the weirdest reason and expected to learn a lot about sleep and dreams. I wasn’t even sure if I would like the rest of psychology and knew that if I wanted to, I could easily switch majors. But in reality, I found something else within the field that I really enjoy learning about that had nothing to do with my initial interest.

Declaring a major doesn’t mean you’re declaring your future job.

Choosing a major isn’t something you should be afraid of. Even if I’m content with my decision as a psychology major for now, that could change in the future. I know I learned something meaningful whether I decide to stick to psychology or not. So don’t be stressed out because the introductory classes are not what you expect – they cover so much information that you never get to the fun stuff – hence introductory.

If you really dislike the program you’re in, then change. Or stick to it for a while and see how subsequent classes make you feel. Although declaring your major to the university can be beneficial because you can get help with planning your courses, don’t rush the process and take the time you need to decide for yourself.

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