They Said This Would Happen... Changing your Major!

Well, they said this would happen. When I came to IU I liked that I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I declared my Speech and Hearing Sciences major at the end of my first semester. People encouraged me to explore other areas of study, but ultimately, I knew I wasn't going to change my mind. I took some other classes unrelated to my major (fencing, gender sexuality and pop culture, intro to communication and culture) just for the fun of it but nothing caught my attention. In fact, all the classes I took for my major seemed to solidify my choice. I definitely had my extra-curricular activities (tour guide, RA, orientation) but those things and what I was learning inside the classroom never seemed to mix...until junior year.

Halfway through the fall semester of my junior year, a little inkling of doubt creeped into my mind. Was Speech Therapy really what I was supposed to do? While I was in my Speech and Hearing classes, all I could think about was what I was going to do during my office hours at FYE (The Office of First Year Experience Programs) later that day. Could I be studying for the wrong career? Maybe I was supposed to do something with Higher Education and Student Affairs (HESA). That thought scared me a little bit though because HESA wasn't a field that I was too familiar with. I hadn't ever seriously considered it before so I didn't know what types of jobs were available. do I tell my parents? "Hey mom, Hey dad... you know that education you've been paying for these past 2.5 years...? Well, I want to do something else. But thanks for all your help!" 

I couldn't ignore those little thoughts that told me it was possible though. I knew I was supposed to be doing something else. I really enjoy working with students. I love my jobs around campus. Isn't that what everyone is looking for in a career? Something they enjoy and something that makes them feel fulfilled? I started considering it more seriously and talking to my mentors in the field of Higher Education. I wanted to get their take on things and see how they would suggest I go about making the transition from Speech and Hearing to Higher Education. I was very lucky to have so many people who were knowledgeable about the field and who I trusted to help me. When I finally talked to my parents, they were a bit skeptical about the change. They were concerned (as any parent should be...) that I wouldn't get a job and I wouldn't be able to support myself. They were even more unfamiliar with the career than I was. I explained to them that with a job in Student Affairs, I would be working at a university in some capacity. I could work in orientation. I could be a recruiter for an office of admissions. Eventually, if I want to stay in school long enough to get a PhD, I could become the dean of a school! Whoa! They started coming to some events where I worked (like an alumni association recruitment event in Louisville, KY and a day of orientation last summer) and I think that made them feel better. They could visualize what exactly I would be doing if I got a degree in this area. They have always been supportive and I am blessed to have such an awesome family who believes in me! ...gosh, that sounded cheesy... But it's true :)

Fortunately, I do not have to change my undergraduate major. I can still get a bachelor's degree in Speech and Hearing Sciences, but I will be going to Graduate School next fall for Higher Education and Student Affairs. It's been a little bit hard to stay motivated in my major classes but I try to think about how the same skills and techniques could apply to a job in Student Affairs. I am currently in a class about The Principles of Speech Pathology. We are learning about a variety of clinical assessment techniques. We are being taught how to conduct an interview in order to figure out how you can best serve a patient. Initially, I couldn't get over how this information was now completely irrelevant to me, but then I began thinking about those skills in the context of student affairs. When I meet a student for the first time who is unfamiliar with their surroundings, I will be doing something similar to a clinical interview. I'll be assessing where there is an issue and what I can do to help the person. So really, this class is totally applicable! Ok...except maybe for the part where we did an oral mech exam and had to look around in someone's mouth to see if everything was in good shape or not. That might be a little invasive in a university setting. I don't think that would make any student feel more comfortable...

It is ok to change your mind. It took me 21 years to figure out what I want to do. And who's to say I won't change my mind again?! That's the great thing about life, you have the freedom to do whatever you want! Obviously, be smart and take into consideration all the benefits and consequences of whatever path you choose to pursue. But don't be afraid to take risks. Find what your passion is and pursue that! And now, when you do end up changing your mind, you too can say, "They said this would happen!"

Now, in case you are a person who needs to be able to visualize things in order to understand them better...

I will be doing this...

Instead of this! (Basically I just wanted an excuse to show you all this video because I think it's hilarious!)


I wish you all luck in everything you do! If there is anything you need, don't hesitate to get in touch with me! Be careful. Have fun. Learn things.

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About The Author
Linden SpaldingSpeech and Hearing Sciences Class of 2014

Hi there! My name is Linden Spalding. I am a Senior from New Albany, IN and I am studying Speech and Hearing Sciences here at Indiana University. I work as a Resident Assistant in one of the residence halls on campus and I absolutely love my job! I also serve as a Hoosier Guide which is part of our Student Ambassador program through the Office of Admissions. I show prospective students and their families the campus and tell them why I love IU! This summer, I also worked for New Student Orientation as a Student Coordinator. It was so much fun working with the OTeam and getting to meet all the new students and their families! Please feel free to get in touch with me if you have any questions or comments. I would love to hear from you! Go Hoosiers!