Another year of success graduates crossing the big stage! Congrats to all those that finished high school earlier this summer!
It’s been years since I graduated from university with a Bachelor’s in Human Resources and Labour Relations but I’ve been reflecting on academics again as we approach the back-to-school season.
As mentioned earlier, I’m a Human Resources professional but did you know I was majoring in Marketing Management when I first started university?
I remember falling in love with marketing back in high school and wanting to be a Director of Marketing for a company. I remember unleashing my creativity and learning how big-name brands target the mind. I remember all the group projects that required us to promote a made-up product or service. I remember the countless SWOT and PEST analyses needed.
Halfway through my studies, I found myself one day thinking about my major. I was starting to doubt it. I started doubting if I really wanted to make a career out of marketing.
Out of nowhere, human resources crept into my mind. I don’t know how it did – I never saw a single brochure or academic guide advertising HR to me. It just popped into my mind around the time I started doubting my major.
Here’s the thing: back in my university, the Marketing Management major did not require us to take any HR classes; so I didn’t know what HR was really about (and yes, it’s much more than just hiring and firing people). But yet, the fact that I’m getting a Marketing Management degree bothered me a whole lot. I started losing motivation to go to my classes. I started asking around what they thought about a marketing career.
I eventually came across Martin. He told me he’s graduating with a mathematics degree, but he regrets it immensely. He had one year left until graduation and felt like he’ll be wasting his time and money if he started all over to pursue his desired degree. That moment, he told me,
“Claire, if you’re ever unsure about your major, you have to switch. Switch when you have the chance to. Otherwise, you’ll be graduating with regret.”
I lost sleep over his whole ordeal of switching majors. But, I knew my guts were telling me to make the switch before the start of a new semester. The next thing I know, I headed towards the administrative offices and asked for a major switch application and I remember writing ‘Marketing Management‘ in the Current Major box, and then writing ‘Human Resources Management’ in the New Major box. Within a few weeks, I got a confirmation that the school approved my major switch.
Did I have to take a whole bunch of new courses? Yes.
Did it push back my graduation date? In a way, yes.
Did it increase my tuition? Yes.
Did I enjoy my classes? Yes, much more than my marketing courses.
Did I ever have thoughts of switching back (or to another major)? No. I never had a single doubt after the switch.
Did I regret it? Of course not. Marketing was an affair; HR is my love.
To be honest, I think I would be miserable if I stuck it out with marketing. I don’t even know if I would’ve graduated since I felt unpassionate about it. To this day, I’m beyond thrilled that I graduated with my HR degree. Right now, I have friends and peers telling me that they regret majoring in accounting, engineering, etc. etc. and contemplating if they should switch majors before it’s too “late”.
I couldn’t give them the advice that I got because my friends were nearly done with just one or two more semesters yet. But to know how uninterested/unpassionate they are about their (potential) future career is incredibly upsetting. I wish they had a Martin in their life to tell them to switch when they still had a chance to.
The bottom line is, that your degree is with you forever. No one can take that away from you. What you do with your degree is up to you, but the thought of being in a career that I have no passion for was scary.
If you doubt your major right now, give it some serious thought. Once I made a switch to HR, I never looked back. I believe that if you’re doubting your degree (and I’m not talking about a 10-minute doubt session because you saw an infographic of your field of study declining), make a switch to something you’re more passionate about.
I felt like the fact that HR popped into my mind without any advertising was the universe’s way of redirecting me to the correct path.
And you know what, I’ll be brutally honest with you. Some of you may not have found your passion yet. But just because you haven’t found your passion doesn’t mean you can’t explore your options. Take a few courses outside of your major and not only will you learn more, but you’ll be able to determine whether you should switch or not.
Invest in a passion, not just a degree.
I would like to add – I mention “late” a few times but if you’re switching careers and going back to school, it’s not too late to chase a career you’re passionate about. I do believe it’s slightly easier to switch when you’re still in university which is why I advocate for major switches if can.