When Keene State College senior Robert Peterson first started his college career, he was an engineering major at Clarkson University.
Though Peterson was pulling good grades, the work was hard, time consuming, and he wasn’t enjoying himself.
“I have a knack for technical things. I thought engineering was something I would be really good at,” Peterson said.
Peterson continued, “Clarkson [University] is a tech school. Once I decided that engineering wasn’t for me, I didn’t have much else to choose from.”
After a brief hiatus from college, Peterson enrolled at KSC without declaring a major. During his first semester, academic advising put Peterson in a mandatory writing class, a Spanish class, a genocide class and a programming class.
“I fell in love with programming and ended up declaring a computer science major after my first semester [at KSC],” Peterson said.
Due to a mix-up with his transfer credits and taking a few classes irrelevant to his major, Peterson doesn’t expect to graduate in just four years.
“I’ll probably end up taking an extra fall semester,” Peterson said, “but it’s definitely worth it, knowing that when I’m done, I’ll be able to get a job in a field I love. It took me a few years to figure out. [Switching majors] made me realize that programming is definitely something I want to do. I know I made the right choice.”
Peterson is not the only KSC student who needed time to figure out which major was right for him.
KSC junior Keanna Winter decided on Keene State for its education program and was an early childhood education major from the start.
“I’ve worked with kids a lot through different babysitting jobs and summer camps. I thought it was something I really wanted to do,” Winter said, “but as soon as I took my first class, I realized that I was wrong.”
After the fall semester of her first year, Winter started taking graphic design classes.
“[Graphic design] is something I’ve always really enjoyed and loved doing. It’s something I enjoy and there’s so many different things that I can do with this after school that I know I like and I’m good at,” Winter said.
Winter added that although she waited until the beginning of her junior year to declare a graphic design major, she isn’t behind in her studies.
“I’ve taken multiple [graphic design] classes throughout my three years here, so I’m not particularly behind,” said Winter, who expects to graduate in May 2018.
Winter said that her decision was made much easier with the help of KSC faculty members.
“Not having an advisor was difficult in taking the right classes I needed for graphic design. I met with Lynn Richardson in the art department to make sure I got the right classes and [got] signed into some that I needed. She was extremely helpful,” Winter said.
Like Winter, KSC junior Brittni Zeboski first declared as an education major.
“I loved the classes and did well in them, but I realized it wasn’t for me the first time I sat in on a high school classroom,” Zeboski said.
Unfortunately for Zeboski, however, she realized this during the fall 2016 semester—more than halfway through her planned college career.
Determined not to waste any more time, Zeboski switched majors as soon as possible.
“Of course, my parents weren’t too thrilled when I told them this,” Zeboski said. “I ended up switching to the psychology major. It was always something I thought about it the back of my mind so I just decided to go for it.”
Though she only has three semesters left until her expected graduation date, Zeboski is confident that she will be graduating on time.
“[If] I can cram the psychology classes into my last three semesters and take summer classes as well, graduating on time could happen,” Zeboski said. “The KSC faculty has been nothing but understanding and helpful, and made the transition a smooth one.”
Zeboski sad she understands how stressful it can be to switch majors at any point during a student’s college career, and offered some advice to anyone dealing with similar struggles.
“Although switching your major can be stressful, it’ll be worth it in the long run, because no one wants to be doing a job they hate every single day for the rest of their lives,” Zeboski said.
Jill Giambruno can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org