Major major changes: why students drastically switch

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March 4, 2016
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March 4, 2016

Major major changes: why students drastically switch

Photo of Daniel Nazaruk for the Major Changes article. By Stephen Dysert.

“What’s your major?”

It’s a question that comes often for college students, usually coming soon after “What’s your name?” Stating your major tells someone a lot about who you are, what you’re interested in and where you’re going.

For some students, the answer to that question stays the same for all four years at BJU, but for many students, the answer is more fluid.

Many students change from one major to another that is closely associated with their original major. But other students make bigger changes in course and switch to a very different major, one that could lead them down a totally different career path.

 Mrs. Paula Watts is the transitional adviser at the University, and she specializes in helping any student who might be thinking about a change (big or small) in major.

“Students often choose a major or career for reasons like money, job availability and parental influence, which are all good things,” Watts said. “However, my goal is ensuring that they enjoy and love what they do in their service for the Lord.”

Watts said she enjoys not having partiality to any specific program or major.

“It is nice for [students] to have a neutral person that desires to help them be in the major the Lord has for them.”

Watts said it’s often a class that causes students to realize they’re not in the best major for them.

“They are in a class and realize that the major was not what they perceived it to be,” Watts said. “They have a misconception of what their major entails. When they enter a class that is a major course, they realize, ‘Whoa! This is not what I thought it was!’”

For Cody Stiling, a senior accounting major, the decision to switch from church music to accounting had more to do with possibility rather than compatibility.

“As much as I love music, I knew that I did not want to teach music, compose music, or do anything like that, and I could still use what I know to help out in a local church without needing a specialized degree.”

Stiling saw a need for business and accounting expertise in churches. He believes his current major will open up the most opportunities for jobs and ministry while still allowing him to  use his musical talents.

Some difficulties come along with the transition to a new major filled with new professors and classmates, Stiling said.

“Even though I was just a freshman, I had made a lot of new friends and met some great teachers, none of which I really saw very much once I switched, because they are two totally different groups with often very different schedules,” Stiling said.

Stiling had some advice for students who are considering making a significant change in major. He suggests that students research and talk to as many people as possible (friends, family, advisers, professors, etc.)

“I talked a lot with my brother, who studied digital commerce, and he saw immediately that accounting would be a good fit for me and really encouraged me in that pursuit,” Stiling said.

Above all else, Stiling encouraged students to seek God’s plan.

“Just seek the Lord’s will and try to use what He has given you. He will always take care of everything else,” Stiling said.

Like Stiling, Daniel Nazaruk, a junior business administration major, also began his college career studying music. He started out as piano pedagogy, switched to music education, and then decided to switch to his current major.

Originally Nazaruk intended to pursue getting his doctorate in either composition or directing. But after a lot of thought, prayer and council, he decided a major switch would be for the best.

“My main concern was that I find a career that would allow me to provide for my family’s needs, now and in the future, and use all the abilities God has given me, not just the artistic ones,” Nazaruk said.

He also had advice for students trying to find the right major.

“God has given each of us unique gifts, and finding a career that engages those gifts is a part of practicing good stewardship,” Nazaruk said. “God made us to do work and to find enjoyment in our work. Finding the right major is just one step toward that goal.”