Choosing a major isn't a one-shot deal

I picked the wrong program and started to panic. Luckily, I found what I was really passionate about—and didn't miss a beat.

A foot standing on a road with painted arrows showing three directions Photo:

When I first began choosing my major at Dalhousie, I approached it as you’d approach getting a tattoo—like it was permanent. That was my mistake, as the one piece of information I wish I took into consideration more when choosing a major is that you can change your mind—in fact it’s actually encouraged!

I decided to major in Law, Justice and Society after a year-and-a-half process of trial and error, during which I took classes from many different programs to sort through what I enjoyed and what I didn’t. This wasn’t my original plan—I moved from London, ON to Dal specifically for the Sustainability program.

I knew I was in the wrong program when I began to see that I didn’t have the same passion my peers had for the subject matter. From a young age, my parents encouraged me to do things I enjoy and am passionate about. Although the subject matter in Sustainability is important, I started to recognize that I didn’t have that passion or enjoyment in what I was learning. I started worrying about what I would do instead, now that my original plan was falling through. I began having what I like to call my “mid-degree crisis.”

Luckily, the Bisset Student Success Centre helped me through this time. I worked with a supportive and encouraging academic advisor who helped me create a plan though the Stay on Track program. We set plans and goals for each term (and my degree in general) and had monthly check-ins to track my progress. It allowed me to complete Arts and Social Science degree requirements while finding my major, so I was actively and productively still working towards my degree the entire time.

By taking courses from many areas of interest throughout the end of my first year and the beginning of my second year, I was able to get a better understanding of what each program offered and be able to see where my academic interests and personal passions collided. I knew the Law, Justice and Society (LJS) program was a perfect fit because it incorporates and discusses law in real-life situations while learning about the human rights aspects of the criminal justice system. I also found the program electives interesting because they addressed many topics of incarceration, social justice, and how laws came to be—all things I’m passionate about.

I’m currently in the process of applying to take my honour’s in LJSO for my 4th and final year of my undergrad next fall. After that, I hope to obtain a master’s degree in public policy, social work, or forensic psychology. Still so many decisions to be made!

Believe me when I say switching majors throughout your degree is definitely a nerve-wracking experience, but once you discover your area of interest, it will open your eyes to a great deal of post-graduate pathways, all while finding enjoyment and passion in what you’re learning.

We’re all figuring out so many aspects of our lives during our undergraduate degree, so don’t be afraid to change your mind and try something new. Remember, everyone is on their own path!