My first try at picking a major did not go like I thought it would.
As I was finishing high school, I decided to major in Biomedical Engineering at Colorado State after tearing my ACL and having a knee surgery. That experience inspired me to pursue a career that could help people get back on their feet when they lose the ability to move like they used to.
Flash forward to when I came to the CSU campus for summer orientation and I sat down with an advisor to build my schedule. Once I told her I was an engineering major she said, “Oh, that’s easy! Here’s a list of all your classes for the next five years.” I looked down and read lots of words I didn’t understand; I couldn’t find a single class I was excited to take. I left with my schedule and a feeling that I needed to either buckle up or find something new.
As fate would have it, my advisor also worked with undeclared students. I shared my hesitations about my major, and she referred me to an awesome website with every program at CSU. After some research, I got excited about majors I had never thought of like Social Work, Anthropology, and Nutrition and Food Science. I realized that CSU was kind of designed to allow me to explore.
I looked at the required classes for all of the majors I liked. (This is something I highly recommend because it tells you exactly what you’ll be doing semester by semester!) Neuroscience seemed interesting, exciting, and unique; it was a major I didn’t even know existed. It also required the classes I was already in, so I was already on track. I found the Neuroscience advisor’s info and made an appointment. He helped me fill out the paperwork (one page) right there in that meeting. After I dropped it off at the registrar’s office, I had a new major!
Three-and-a-half years later, I am graduating with my Neuroscience degree and a concentration in Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience. I even picked up a minor in Biomedical Sciences along the way. I plan to apply to physician’s assistant school and go into the medical field after I graduate … and I’m happy to say I’m still working toward my goal of helping others in their medical journeys.
Yes, my first try at picking a major didn’t go as planned, but it turns out that changing my major allowed me to approach my dreams from a different angle — one I am more excited about. I am so thankful for the opportunity I’ve had at CSU to explore and pursue a passion I didn’t know I had, and I’m glad I found a path I couldn’t have even imagined for myself when I was in high school.
My advice to anyone searching for a major is to give yourself grace to try new things and permission to change your mind. I truly believe that the majority of students are on some level of undecided when they start out. It really is about the journey in college: the clubs you join, the hobbies you pick up, and the interests you develop that all turn into a passion and a life direction. Don’t put all the pressure on the perfect major to make a perfect college experience; it’s the broader experience that makes you into the person you will become!
Allie Hare is graduating in 2020 with a degree in Neuroscience. In her time at CSU, she has been a part of the honors program, tutored chemistry, led Bible studies for a campus ministry called the Navigators, and conducted human-based research in the Sensorimotor Neuroimaging Lab on campus. She drinks excessive amounts of tea, loves to hike, and spends time outside whenever she can.