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Some students face mid-college crisis

At 18 years old, high school students make one of the biggest decisions of their lives when they decide their college future. Then, about 12 months later, they freak out.

“I feel like I wasted all of freshman year taking useless math and science classes for meteorology and then ended up changing” said Chris Bosma, a sophomore.

The mid-college crisis, experienced by some students at the University of Miami, causes students to doubt their choice of school, their major and whether they are taking the right classes or allocating time to the best extracurriculars.

According to Marian Dahman, the director of senior advising, whose office handles all change of major requests, the only people who shouldn’t be going through this crisis are the freshmen. “Freshmen change their major more often than I change my socks,” she said. “Most classes students take during their first year should apply to most majors.”

While many seniors planning to graduate in May changed their major while at UM, students in the School of Architecture, College of Engineering and Frost School of Music switch majors the least and take very few general requirement classes.

The average college student may change their major one or two times – just ask senior Alexa Schwartz. She came to UM planning to study criminology on the pre-veterinarian track before she switched to biology, then to undeclared, before finally deciding on motion pictures and English.

“I’ve read a lot of boring books I’d love to forget, but my grades have gone way up,” she said, referring to when she finally settled on a major she is happy with.

Although some students change majors with ease, others encounter problems if they decide to switch too late in the game.

Switching from meteorology to motion pictures in the School of Communication voided a lot of math and science classes for Chris Bosma, a sophomore.

“They all basically became arts and sciences electives, but I guess it works both ways,” Bosma said, noting that he is still graduating on time.

Sydney Turnbull, a sophomore, planned out her change in major long before she put it down on paper. She began taking classes in history in English while she was still a neuroscience major to “test the waters.”

“I wanted to make sure the switch would work out in my favor,” she said.

Dahman said students should not worry if they face a mid-college crisis, adding that it may give students extra time to look into graduate schools and post-baccalaureate programs.

“Most people don’t realistically work in the field of the degree they went to for college, anyway,” she said.

Valerie Marks may be contacted at v.marks@umiami.edu.

April 24, 2008

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The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.