‘I would’ve been miserable’: I switched my degree to my first year minor

Honestly, I wish I had done it sooner

If you’d have told me two years ago that I would switch my degree to my minor subject from first year I wouldn’t have believed you.

I started out my first year doing a Drama, Theatre and Performance degree, and whilst I found this challenging at times (particularly with online-learning and lockdowns), I was enjoying learning about different practitioners and styles of theatre, and getting to put them into practice with the fellow students on my course.

And yet, I still ended up choosing to make the switch to Media and Cultural Studies.

It isn’t always a straightforward decision

I really enjoyed my course during my first year. I’d met some amazing people (both students and staff), and had spent so much time doing a degree that I loved. Then summer hit.

Suddenly, I was filled with dread about returning to university for my second year. This was a very overwhelming time for me. It felt as if my love for my degree had slowly been decreasing and now I was wondering if I even wanted to be at university anymore.

I decided to have a meeting with my favourite lecturer from the course to see what she thought I should do. The advice I was given was basically that I could do well in Theatre, but that I had to choose what would make me happy. I ended that call and felt none the wiser about what I should do.

So, I chose to stay with Theatre. I thought long and hard and decided that the connections that I’d made in that year combined with the parts of that degree that I enjoyed were worth sticking with it.

When Week One of Michaelmas Term rolled around, I went to my first second-year workshop and discovered that it was covering my least favourite part of theatre. By some twist of fate I was in the half of the class which would spend weeks one to three covering it, rather than four to six. I consider this to be one of my luckiest moments in life because if I had been in the other half I most likely wouldn’t have switched.

If I hadn’t switched, I would’ve been miserable for the remainder of my time at Lancaster.

After a panic-filled workshop (which I sat outside for most of), I sent an email to the Undergraduate Co-Ordinators for both Theatre and Media and Cultural Studies and asked to switch.

The easiest choice isn’t always the best choice

It took another week and a half to get my new timetable, which meant a week and a half of nothing but worrying if I had made the right decision. When I finally got it I was so nervous about going to my first in-person lectures and seminars ever (my first year of Theatre was a lot of workshops), and about having to start over without knowing anyone on my course.

It was such a relief when I sat down in a lecture hall and actually understood what I was being taught for what felt like the first time since coming to uni. It finally felt like I was doing a degree that was right for me.

I should put a disclaimer here that just because Theatre was not the right degree for me does not mean that it is a bad degree. I thoroughly enjoyed my time on this course, and I know that the people currently on it love it so much. It just wasn’t suited to me in a way that I, unfortunately, didn’t get the chance to discover until my second year.

There is no ‘wrong reason’ to switch

Perhaps you don’t understand any of the content. Maybe you don’t actually want a job in that field. You might even find that the course just bores you to death. No matter what it is for you, it’s worth exploring your options.

My advice to anyone who is considering changing their degree is to seriously consider their options. Talk to staff on your course or in your college, talk to friends and family, and think about what it is that you really want from your university experience. You may do this and find that, actually, there’s a simple solution to your doubt and nerves and you don’t have to go through the process of switching. But, you may also do this and find that there is a better course out there that will make you happier.

This was the case for me, and potentially could be the case for you. Ultimately, it’s your decision and yours alone to make. As hard as it is to ignore all of the outside voices pressuring you into one choice or the other, you have to be the one to make it. Talking to others helps, but only if it will help you to realise what you truly want.

For me, the major/minor system in the first year at Lancaster turned out to be the most useful part of that year for me. It helped me realise that, whilst I enjoyed one subject to an extent, it was only enjoyable to me when there was less pressure. Without the major/minor system, I wouldn’t be in the place I am today with my degree.

Find out more information about making changes to your studies here.

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