Many students at Texas Tech University and across the country risk changing their major in pursuit of happiness.
At Texas Tech, an average student has the potential to choose from 12 different colleges and 88 different courses of study. On average, 80 percent of college students in the U.S. changes their major at least once, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
This fact has proven to be troublesome for some students who choose their major right out of high school. For some, it is worth the wait of staying “undeclared” or “undecided.”
For Ashleigh Hernandez, a junior public relations major from California, staying in the “undecided” realm after high school graduation was more appealing than choosing a major she knew she would not be interested in. She attended a community college in California until she figured out what major she wanted to pursue.
“I decided to be a (public relations) major before I moved to Texas Tech,” Hernandez said. “I knew that my strengths lied not in math or science. There weren’t really any (public relations programs) that impressed me in California.”
Hernandez said after a bit of research, she realized public relations was what she wanted to major in and started researching schools outside of California.
“Tech was ranked higher nationally than any of the California schools and I came and visited and they had so much to offer here,” she said.
Hernandez does not plan on changing her major in the future.
Carolyn Owen, a junior electronic media and communication major, started her academic career on an entirely different route than she ended up taking.
“Originally, my major was music in vocal performance,” Owen said. “I am a classically trained musician, have been singing since I was 11 and have premiered at an opera in New York City.”
Owen said the opera occurred right around the time she started to plan for college and it heavily influenced her choice in choosing the Texas Tech University School of Music.
“I had a plan, I wanted to become a music therapist and do performances on the side with professional credits,” Owen said. “I really believed in my heart that’s what I wanted.”
When she actually experienced classes based on that measure, Owen realized she wanted something different.
“It wasn’t for me,” Owen said. “I decided to pursue my other passion in media. Music is still one of the most important things in my life but since I changed my major, I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.”
Owen fit the statistic perfectly, changing her major once after choosing something right out of high school. For others like Ricardo Cortez, it took trial and error to finally realize their true passion.
Cortez, a transfer student and senior electronic media and communication major, says he has changed his major throughout his academic career a total of five times.
“First, I was a psychology major,” Cortez said. “It’s still an interesting topic for me but I was worried about job security.”
His next two choices were biology and pre-med. Having a father who was a physician, Cortez said he grew up with an interest in medicine. After a trial semester, he changed his major for a fourth time to pre-nursing. Cortez had the opportunity to be on KTXT 88.1 The Raider, which made him realize medicine was not where he wanted to be.
“I heard about it through my best friend who egged me on to try volunteering,” Cortez said. “It was never my intention to do radio but that soon changed after I tried it.”
Cortez said the only thing that concerned him about choosing and changing his major for a fifth time to electronic media and communications was the worry of graduating on time, however, it seemed he was on the right track.
“I don’t know how, but it looks like it’s going to happen,” Cortez said.