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I'm awful at my major, what do I do?

iickyviickyiickyviicky 4 replies2 threadsRegistered User New Member
I'm a freshman in my second semester. I thought accounting was a good field to get into since I'm kind of shy and introverted (not the best traits for med school), but I was seriously wrong. I'm taking accounting and economics 101, and calculus 1, and I'm doing very poorly. Last semester I would get A's and one B+ in college algebra, but now I've been getting D's and C's. I got a D (35% but he gave a generous curve) on my calc midterm. I have to get at least a D in calculus in order to take more economics courses, and a C- in accounting to actually declare it as my major. In eco, my last grade was a C and I have a hard time absorbing the concepts. I find accounting really difficult as well. I write and re-write my notes many times (which usually helps me learn) but I'm still clueless. My accounting homework is always late, and I got a C- on the midterm. I'm not sure what to do. I don't have much of a social life so I spend most of my time locked in my room doing problems and studying. The only time I go out is to get coffee or meet with a tutor.

Accounting makes me very unhappy especially since I'm so bad at it. Every time I see an accounting firm anywhere I get kind of depressed. However, I'm not sure what else to do. My mom wants me to do this and was really excited when I told her I was interested in it. It offers a stable career and a good salary but how can I do this if I can't even get the basic concepts?

Is this normal? Is anyone majoring in something they weren't good at (at first) but grew to like it and do better? Or do you think this is a wake-up call that I should change my field of study?

People always tell me that I should do something I love but it's frustrating because I don't know what I like? I don't know what I'm good at exactly. I liked psychology and was good at it in high school (I got a 5 on the AP exam) but I'm not so interested in psychology careers. Does anyone have any tips on how to find something I like, without wasting semester time? I'm worried my parents will be upset that I wasted a semester taking a class I didn't like.
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Replies to: I'm awful at my major, what do I do?

  • SuperSenior19SuperSenior19 173 replies7 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    It depends on what school you go to, but really, at most universities, freshman year is still early and you definitely have time to change your major. If you don't like it, don't commit to doing it every day until you're 65 -- you'll find something else you like! Go to your college's career center and ask them to help you; they likely have advisors, surveys, etc. that can help. You haven't wasted time because you still have the credits as electives, and it's better to switch now than later.

    For what it's worth, my parents are accountants, and they barely passed econ in college but did fine in their careers. They say it's boring, though. There's nothing wrong with you if you don't like it. What attracted you to it in the first place? There's plenty of careers that are detail oriented, stable, high-paying, etc. that you could explore. Why did you mention med school?

    And not to pry, but does being introverted/alone bother you? It seems like you need more balance. College is the perfect time to branch out and meet new people -- there's been several threads on it recently.
    Good luck -- you can figure it out!
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  • iickyviickyiickyviicky 4 replies2 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Hi! Thanks for replying.
    I will definitely check out a career center, I believe we do have one on my campus. It's helpful hearing that you're parents struggled with econ too. I was attracted to it because it seemed doable and stable. I mentioned med school because I was really interested in being a physician assistant but I had a change of heart last minute. I feel like you need to be assertive for a career like that, and I'm not like that. Being introverted does bother me sometimes but I can't seem to change. I'm also extremely timid and I can't seem to change that either. It's hard to make friends at my university because it's a commuter school :(

    A lot of people tell me it's not too late to change too but I feel like I'm running out of time. Have you ever switched majors?
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  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 6579 replies54 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Right, so: good for you for stopping to take stock. Good for you for recognizing that things can be a good idea in theory, but not so much in practice.

    Consider take a two-pronged approach:

    1. You need to finish this term with the best grades that you can manage. So: start going to office hours / tutorials / whatever other resources there are -every single time. It is possible that you just aren't cut out for these subjects- but it is also possible that the ways of learning that worked for you in high school just don't work in college. There are a lot of practical things you can do to help yourself: read the chapter *before* the class. Do your homework *immediately* after class. Before the next quiz ask somebody in your class who seems to be doing well if you could study together for the quiz.(bonus: great way to get started talking to people).

    2. Go see your profs, your advisor, the careers office and the campus counselor. With the campus counselor, talk about making life decisions that will work for you while worrying about your parent's reactions, and the kinds of things that you might like to do. With the careers office, ask about careers that link to the things that come up with the counselor, and what kinds of classes / majors can get you there. With your advisor, ask about how you can make best use of the classes you have taken / are taking, and how you can fit in the classes that you want to try as you re-focus your field of interest. And with your profs, ask if there are ways they can help you master the material in the classes you are taking from them now. I have not forgotten that you are an introvert, but even introverts can pick themselves up by the (metaphorical) back of the collar and go talk to people when things are in extremis- which they are.

    If you do all those things, your grades should improve; you will have a better sense of whether the problem is the major or not; you will have thought through other options than just "doctor" "accountant" "psychologist" (and there are so many, many other options); and you will have gotten out of your room and taken charge of your life- 2 things that almost always make people feel happier!

    And by the way: you are not alone. Some 30-40% of students change their intended major once they get to college. Many change because they find out that they don't like it - and many because they discover other things that they had never imagined, that they like even more. At most colleges you don't have to declare your major until the end of 2nd year- and that's deliberate, to give you time to figure out what you really want. Use that time!

    Good luck, and come back & tell us how you are getting on.
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  • SuperSenior19SuperSenior19 173 replies7 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    I'm actually not in college yet but I'll be a freshman next year and I feel like I'm the only one who's not already dead set on a major, so I feel you! I have friends in college who have switched majors, though, and they've said it's usually not hard to do. The firast two years should be gen eds, so it's definitely not too late. Did you get a lot of AP credit from high school? That will give you more wiggle room as far as credits go.

    What subjects did you enjoy and/or do well in during high school? What kind of grades are you aiming for? Maybe you could try some summer courses in another field. Do you have an academic advisor you could talk to?

    Idk if you'd like this, but what about medical laboratory science? I'm not sure how many colleges offer it and the pay doesn't quite match accounting, but you learn how to analyze lab tests (like bloodwork in a hospital for instance). It sort of combines the science of medicine with the predictability of accounting, but you don't have to interact with patients. I looked into it for a while.

    I've also tried looking through the course list for random majors and seeing what classes you need, reading the course descriptions and syllabi, etc. That way you can get a feel for what it'd actually be like.

    I'm not shy per se, but I get intimidated by people sometimes too. Just take a deep breath and force yourself to be more assertive -- chances are lots of your classmates are looking for friends too! Joining a few clubs or study groups might help. I've tried to become more confident with social stuff and honestly starting with the little things helps -- say hi to your teachers and classmates, talk to people in line at the store, etc.
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  • bjkmombjkmom 7942 replies158 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited March 30
    My daughter started the year as a marketing major. Big mistake; it's pretty heavily loaded with mathy courses. And, in spite of my avatar, it turns out that math REALLY is not her thing!!!

    So she recently met with her advisor, and switched her major to Communications, with a Marketing minor. What a great choice!!! All the things she liked best about marketing, without the huge math component-- her current College Algebra class will satisfy the math Gen Ed requirement. And it turns out that the vast majority of the courses she's taken have been either Gen Ed or will count towards her new focus.

    My advice: Pour through the majors your school offers. Find something that offers the aspects you want, without the things you don't. Consider those minors.
    edited March 30
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  • TrisherellaTrisherella 1127 replies6 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    How about speech pathology? It's sort of a medical school/helping people track, but obviously not as intense as med school. Also, you're oftentimes working either with kids, or adult stroke patients, so there isn't as much of an intimidation factor.

    Re: assertiveness, I remember entering college much like you, not very outgoing and intimidated to try. What changed me was my major! It was journalism, and I had no choice but to get out there and interview people and "be assertive" even though I didn't feel that way. Literally I would be wavering before picking up the phone to call someone for an interview. The way I got through it was I wouldn't allow myself to eat my next meal until I (DID WHATEVER HARD THING). To me at the time it was a coping mechanism, a way to get myself to do things I found difficult. But the funny thing was, after doing this for a while, it became much EASIER just through practice. I am now more or less of an extrovert. Never would've imagined that happening. lol.

    I DO think you need a different major, and it isn't too late to find one. BTW you need a GPA of 3.5+ for speech pathology, so you need to keep your grades up no matter what. Good luck!
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  • iickyviickyiickyviicky 4 replies2 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Thanks for the advice! It really eased my anxiety. Your right I should work harder this semester, regardless of the fact that I probably don't want to continue in it. I was thinking of just taking a bad grade and moving on but I can see why that's not the best option right now.
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  • iickyviickyiickyviicky 4 replies2 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Well, enjoy the time you have in high school!
    I've only taken one AP course and it transferred the grade to psych 101. In high school, I did well in psych, geometry, bio, and history. I do have an advisor I can speak to and I'll probably meet with him next week.
    I'll look into laboratory sciences, thank you!
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  • iickyviickyiickyviicky 4 replies2 threadsRegistered User New Member
    Speech pathology sounds really interesting, I will speak to my advisor about that.

    I think that's a great coping mechanism and I'll definitely try that out too! Did you have trouble with speaking louder? I speak low all the time, sometimes I think I'm speaking loud but I'm barely audible to the person I'm speaking to.

    I'm glad your major helped you with your shyness, it gives me hope that I won't always be like this.
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  • intparentintparent 36291 replies644 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    You mentioned you turned in homework late. That seems like an easy thing to fix to help your grades.

    But if you don’t have a knack for the topic and don’t like it, switch majors. Go to the career office for help. Identify a couple other possible majors, and try intro classes in those areas next fall.

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  • sattutsattut 979 replies78 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Change major, obviously.
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  • CheddarcheeseMNCheddarcheeseMN 3344 replies11 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Work on improving this semester's grades and think about new major later.

    You say you are an introvert who spends all your time in your room or with a tutor, but you would benefit from getting together in study groups and working on HW problems together with your classmates. Anyone from your class living in your dorm? See if they want to get together. Attend all classes and do the accounting homework on the day it is assigned so it won't be late.
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  • intparentintparent 36291 replies644 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I think the OP should still think about the new major. Good to have ideas when they register for fall classes, and go to the career center before leaving for the summer.
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  • thumper1thumper1 74243 replies3248 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Switch majors.
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  • bjkmombjkmom 7942 replies158 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Oh, and that "one class that you didn't like" can count as an elective. No harm done-- you found out what you DON'T like. That's as important as finding out what you do.
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  • shfloridashflorida 18 replies0 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Have a serious chat with your advisor before switching majors and have a plan.
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