I decided to write this article to put it out there that a lot of us are going to have this change of heart (and major) even when we least expect it. When I first arrived Luther, I was so certain that I was going to graduate with an English major and probably a classics minor. In high school, I was all about literature and I was so sure that it was my passion. I still love literature, though!
What made me more certain about that decision was when I took my first Paideia class back in Fall 2016 with Professor Row-Heyveld. I was absolutely blown away about how much the literature in Paideia has taught me --most of which I know I will never be able to learn anywhere else. I also took a Classical Mythology class which I really enjoyed, and I thought I was going to pursue classics as a minor.
Oh, and here's a heads up: there will be a memory lane of photos in this blog post!
In my first semester, I was certain about my plans for the future: I saw myself teaching English to Malaysian students back at home. That is, up until J-Term 2017. My advisor suggested I take something out of my comfort zone, so I decided to take a class on the Sociology of Prisons. For the entire J-Term, the course surprised me more day by day. There was so much that I learned about the criminal justice system of the United States and the issue of mass incarceration. That course has not only saved me from ignorance, but sparked a drive in me to want to dedicate my future to giving voice to the voiceless.
In Spring 2017, I took Sociology 101 with Professor Kremer, as I was confident that I was going to be pursuing Sociology as a major. I was also interested in political science at that time but didn't get a chance to take a course in the field. Sociology 101 was just as incredible as the prison course I took in J-Term.
When I got to Fall 2017, I took Global Politics to see if I would still want to pursue political science as a major, and Social Conflict as part of requirements to fulfill for my sociology major. Both courses were just as incredible, and hence, I decided to double major in sociology and political science!
Everything was set, I thought, at first. It was until about two months ago, when I started thinking more about where I see myself in the future. The truth was I couldn't see myself anywhere in the future. I didn't know if I was going to settle down here in the U.S. after grad school, or head back to Malaysia. As cheesy as it is going to sound, I couldn't see myself permanently anywhere because both Malaysia and the US hold very special parts in my heart, and seeing myself in the future without one of them is going to be very difficult.
I personally think seeing where you're going to end up in the future (country-wise) is important for an international student. The main reason being that some majors on campus may not be able to help with the job scopes in other countries because of the demand. It's a reality I took awhile to realize, because as much as I would love to pursue sociology, I am unsure of how my future would look with sociology as a major outside of the US. Because of this, I chose to no longer major in sociology. However, discontinuing my pursuit in sociology as a major doesn't mean that I cannot pursue sociology through courses on campus.
As of now, I've declared a double major in international studies and political science. I still have the drive that my first sociology class has given me, the drive to voice the voiceless. I am currently pursuing a track on peace and conflict studies in international studies, which I believe can help me with this passion of mine no matter where I am or end up around the world. The best part of pursuing a thematic track is that I can take courses from other departments, as long as it is going to help me with understanding peace and conflict studies. I'm happy that my Social Conflict class this semester is going to help me fulfill a part of that requirement!
I just want to put it out there that changing majors is part of college life. And that's okay. The beauty about being in a liberal arts college like Luther is that you don't have to know immediately what you want to pursue. The transition to college is already hard enough, let alone deciding once and for all what your future is going to be. Being in a liberal arts education has allowed me explore so much more about myself and where I see myself in the future with no pressure (as you can see I transitioned from an English major/classics minor to an international studies/political science double major!). The professors here are especially helpful too when it comes to advising, which is a relief because it is important to talk to the professor of your desired major about your plans for the future, graduate school, etc. I was afraid to pursue an entirely different course of majors at first because of how little I knew about social science. Rushing into things is not going to help with living college life to the fullest because college provides a great platform for all of us to broaden our horizons and see where it takes us from there. So be sure to enjoy the ride of these irreplaceable four years of your lifetime, because things will pan out for you in the end!
P.S. I'll be sure to include a blog about peace and conflict studies soon. I can't do so as of now because the track isn't updated on the current international studies catalog yet.