The summer before I came to Furman, I think the question that I got asked the most from family and friends was what I was going to study. For someone who has NO idea what they want to do, that question is terrifying but, for me, it was easy: biology. I had always been a science girl and knew that was what I wanted to do with my life. As it turns out, I was wrong.
I did spend the first two years of my time at Furman studying biology, and I threw myself into the major freshman and sophomore year. I took the chemistry electives I needed (I even put myself through the nightmare that is organic chem), completed the biology research & analysis class where you conduct your own project, AND completed a summer of research before I decided to change. I’m not going to lie, after completing ALL of these requirements the switch was daunting, but I knew I wasn’t passionate about the sciences and that I didn’t want to put myself through that for two more years so, I finally switched completely to a Spanish major, and I even picked up a linguistics minor too.
I certainly couldn’t have done all of this on my own, so I want to share with you all of the support I had in the process, in case you find yourself in a similar position one day.
After telling my friends, of course, the first (academic) resource that I reached out to was my advisor, Dr. Rawlings. He had been with me since freshman year and had helped guide me through all of my decisions in the biology major. After all he had done for me in the sciences, I was a little worried about disappointing him with my change, but he was fully on board and excited for me finding what I was passionate about! We talked through my plan; I told him that I wanted to switch to Spanish and, after graduation, I wanted to work in international education. He was wary when I first walked into his office announcing the drastic change, but after realizing that I had an idea of what I wanted to do, worked with me to make sure it could happen.
We looked through the major requirements for Spanish and made sure that I could graduate on time and, after ensuring that, we talked about getting me a new advisor in the Spanish department. I then reached out to one of my favorite Spanish professors, Dr. Friis (I had already taken a few Spanish classes for GERs before I decided to make the major switch so I knew a couple professors) and asked if he could be my advisor! He enthusiastically agreed and, just like that, I had an advisor in my new major. Dr. Rawlings forwarded my academic information over to Dr. Friis and I was set. Dr. Friis connected me with the head of the Spanish department, Dr. Bartlett, and after meeting her, she signed my form for the Spanish major declaration and I was in. It was that easy.
The biggest takeaway from this is that academic advisors are there for you and they care about you. Unlike public universities, where advisors are really only there to approve class schedules, Furman faculty invest in their students. Dr. Rawlings, Dr. Friis, Dr. Bartlett, and countless other members of the Furman Spanish department have been there for me to ensure my academic success. They want to see me succeed, and I couldn’t be more thankful that I entered a major with such a supportive faculty.
If you’re not happy in your major, don’t be afraid to make a change. Dealing with external pressure (especially from family) is scary, but always remember that you know what’s best for you. And, if you’re lucky enough to be at Furman, you’ll have a faculty to support you every step of the way too.
Until next time!