by Taylor Jevning
If you’ve read my past articles, you will know that I have gone through nearly every scenario a university student could possibly go through. From failing a final to dropping courses during midterms to transferring universities and living in dorms, I’ve been through situations in university I thought I would not make it through. There have been multiple times in my university career where I felt as though it was the end of the world, but surprisingly, it never has been. In this article, I want to talk about what to do when you end up in a program you hate.
I’ve come a long way. I started out as a commerce student studying human resources and labour relations and today, I am a sociology major with a philosophy minor. Though it was long process, it has definitely made my degree infinitely more enjoyable. Students who end up in a degree program they hate may feel trapped, like they are wasting their money and time and that their options are limited, but unless you didn’t realise you hated your degree within the first two years, you are likely to be able to start doing what you do want with very few setbacks. Fortunately, I realized after my first semester that business wasn’t for me. For those of you who showed up straight out of high school not knowing what you wanted to do, and for those of you who did know what you wanted but have now realised that what you wanted is different from what you anticipated, I’m here to tell you that your degree is not a lost cause. I want to talk about the various steps you can take to ensure that you will leave Concordia with a degree you love.
Let’s start by saying that the general requirements and optional courses that Concordia requires for graduation are your best friends. These classes are mainly intended to ensure that Concordia’s students are well-rounded in areas such as religion and fine arts, but for students like myself, they were an opportunity to take classes to figure out what I enjoyed. When I discovered that I hated business after a semester of physics, calculus, economics, and law, I knew I didn’t want my second semester to be as miserable as my first. I met with an advisor who helped me select classes that I enjoyed, such as philosophy, sociology, and a yoga class which fulfilled my physical activity credit requirement. Even though I deviated from my degree program, I learned how much I loved sociology, and realized that I can, in fact, make a degree out of something that I enjoy. For the next school year, I reapplied for a Bachelor of Arts as a returning student, and thankfully, all of my credits I had already taken were transferable towards an arts degree. My statistics course was required, my physics fulfilled a science, and economics and law were used as options. What had originally felt like the end of the world had become an opportunity for me to discover what I wanted to do with my life. Part of the university experience is taking classes and learning what you love and what you are good at, and though it was terrible and stressful trying to figure out how to avoid calculus, the experience pushed me in a direction that made me truly happy.
In my struggle to find a program I liked, I had help along the way. The registrar is available to help you figure out how to use your options credits without wasting your time. Although many of my classmates were able to complete most of their major and minor requirements within their first two years, I see that some of them are less enthusiastic about having to take options and others changing their mind about what degree they want to pursue when they finally take an option in their third year. I recommend everyone take some classes outside of their major within their first two years, because we’re all here trying to decide what we want to do with our lives, and the best way to do that is to try things out while we have the chance. We may never get the chance again to take a public speaking class, a pop culture English course, or film, while having having all of these to count towards a degree. And if you’re like me, showing up for a degree and then transferring to one where people constantly joke about how you won’t be able to find a job later on in life, I’d recommend checking out the Career Services office on the upper floor of the library. When I chose Sociology, they provided me with many pamphlets and options for ways I would be able to apply my degree, which helped ease my parents’ uncertain minds as well as my own.
University shouldn’t be something you dread. While you’re here at Concordia, you should follow the school’s motto and discover what you are passionate about, because hey, who knows, you could end up spending your life doing something you love! University is not meant to be a burden; it should be an opportunity that facilitates your transition into a career that you genuinely enjoy. If you find you identify with my first-year self and feeling like university isn’t the place for you, take a step back. Take classes in other fields. They likely will be able to fit into your degree to fill a requirement, especially because most of the 100-level courses are easily transferrable. Even if you take a class you end up hating like I did with psychology (Freud can rot in hell), you will at least never have to wonder about what could have been. Good luck, and remember, there is no class-related situation you’re going to go through here that will ruin your life.