Let me start off by saying that this is not a rant about how much I dislike universities and that they’re a waste of money. Universities are a great place to learn, and I have learned so much at the University of Texas at Austin while having some great experiences. But, if you are unsure at all of what you want to major in or do in life, please have a read of what I am going to say. I will try to make it as short and interesting as possible, or you can skip to the bottom for the main message, I suppose.
I was accepted into the College of Natural Sciences, at UT Austin with a major in evolution biology. When my first semester came, I registered for all of the first level courses required, calculus, biology, chemistry, and psychology, but not really sure of what kind of job I wanted after college. I thought I wanted to become a veterinarian, but the organization I was in gave me a reality check and I realized, that’s not what I wanted to do after all. I changed my prospective job with a biology degree more times than I can count. Veterinarian, animal physical therapist, animal trainer, researcher…
But, as the semesters rolled on, my interest in biology kind of vanished. The more advanced classes I was taking in biology and chemistry, the more I realized that this field of work was not for me. I did though, like psychology and thought about doing research or personality psychology research in animals after I graduated, so I decided to try to transfer to the school of psychology at my university.
In my sophomore year was when I applied for an internal transfer. So instead of taking major specific classes, I was taking classes that were required for everyone to graduate. And that year was when I learned that the longer you have been at the university, the less likely you were to be accepted as a transfer student to another college within the university. Freshmen are the most likely to be accepted for an internal transfer, because one of the main things the school considers if whether or not you will graduate in four years. The longer you wait, the harder it becomes.
I unfortunately was not accepted, so my search continued. I was still in the College of Natural Sciences, but changed my major to undeclared. As the semesters went on, the more I was just trying to find a major that I found interesting to get a degree in, not necessarily something I wanted to use towards a job. I experimented with classes in different subjects like geology and even thought about applying to that school, but realized it was too close to the biology degree for me to enjoy it, plus I wasn’t wanting a job in that area.
With basically all of my core requirements completed, I had no reason to attend summer school. I was still on the track to figuring out what I wanted to do. Then finally, I realized, I’ve always loved messing with graphics and creating my own art, a degree in graphic design sounds perfect for me. I talked to an adviser in the art department, but was disappointed to find out that the design school was so small one to no students at all were accepted as internal transfers per year, and I could only apply the fall of my senior year. My only backup option was a degree in studio art, and my admittance was not very promising.
Realizing all of that, I looked toward the community college here which offers an associates and certificate program in graphic design. A lot of the classes I’ve taken go towards those graduation requirements, so it’s as if I’ve taken my basics at the university and will transfer them to community college. The complete opposite of what should have happened.
This whole experience was very frustrating because I was admitted into the university and college I initially wanted, but when I started to figure out what I really wanted to do, the university prevented me from doing it.. So if you just skimmed the reading or didn’t read it at all, at least read this:
If you are at all unsure of what you want to major in, or think you know, but are not 100% sure, starting off at a community college is probably best for you. At a community college, you can take your basic requirements, experiment with some classes and find what you’re interested in. Plus, it is considerably cheaper. Then, you can transfer those credits (if applicable) to a university and they can count towards your bachelors degree. I wish that I would have done this, I feel like I would have realized what I wanted to do sooner and not feel as panicked trying to decide a major and wasting time with transfers that were unsuccessful because I would probably take a semester or two more than the targeted four years to graduate. Because of this, I will not earn a degree from my first pick university that I’ve been attending for almost three years.
I hope this was helpful to you if you’re trying to make a decision. I was completely against attending a community college my first year after high school, and I know now how naive I was being because I’m sure it would have helped.