Students share their stories of switching majors and finding their true calling
By Marielle Payton
What if, after choosing a path and studying for a year or so, you discover it’s not for you?
What next? How do you recalibrate?
Choosing a college is a big decision – one that can often feel scary and overwhelming. There’s a lot of pressure to choose the right major. After all, your degree often sets you on a career path that you may stay on for the rest of your life.
Three different students shared their experiences: Ella Pound, from Newark, Ohio, Adrianna McFadden, from Indianapolis, Indiana, and Grace Gregory, from Chicago, Illinois. All three are at different places in their degree progress and have diverse stories to share. Each changed their major and struggled to feel like they fit in.
They don’t have life figured out completely – who does? But they’ve learned a lot along the way. Maybe their stories can be relatable to you, too.
Ella Pound made the decision to go to a Christian school very early on in her college search. When a close friend from high school decided to attend Cedarville, Pound realized she had to give the college a closer look. Visiting the campus officially confirmed her choice.
“I left with the biggest smile on my face,” Pound said. “I knew this was where I was supposed to be.”
Pound knew she could do so many things with her life, but didn’t know what she was specifically called to do. A deep love for people led her to choose Business Management for her major. One of her first business classes, creative problem solving, was an absolute blast for her.
“I loved using soft skills and thinking outside the box,” Pound said. “It was so much fun. I never even imagined I could love a major like this.”
Then she went home for break, and Pound’s confidence began to melt into uncertainty. As she worked on planning out her four-year schedule, she began to have doubts. Was this really what she wanted to be doing?
Once back on campus, Pound was hired as a tour guide for admissions and found herself working with people more than she ever had before. That’s when she began to consider switching degrees.
After praying about it and talking to her parents, Pound sat down with her speech professor, Dr. Daniel Fultz, and together they created a plan. She officially switched to Communication, keeping Business Administration as a minor and adding a Women’s Ministry minor.
“I have so much peace now that this is exactly where the Lord wants me,” Pound said. “In the future, I want to do public relations and women’s ministry, and communication is the perfect fit.”
If there’s one thing she wants others to know, it’s the importance of seeking wise counsel. College students often come into their freshman year with just an idea of what they like, so sometimes it takes the insight of others to figure out what the right choice is.
“Being in the right major is more important than being on the quickest path,” she added.
Adrianna McFadden decided to do two years of community college before coming to Cedarville in order to save money and graduate debt-free. Her family are alumni of Cedarville and she always dreamed of attending as well, carrying on the tradition.
While at community college taking general science and math education classes to fulfill the requirements of her Elementary Education degree, she fell in love with Geology.
“Science is the one subject I’ve always loved,” McFadden said. “I actually considered doing Science and Math Education once I reached Cedarville, but I just didn’t like the idea of teaching the same subject every day. “
McFadden remembers staying up late nights into early mornings just doing geology homework – not because she was behind but because she genuinely found it fascinating.
During the last week of her class, McFadden’s professor asked her if she’d ever considered science, encouraging her to add it as a minor. But to McFadden, this was the final confirmation she needed.
“That was when I really decided to look into Cedarville again because if I wanted to make geology my degree, I wanted to get it from a Christian perspective,” McFadden said. “I’d heard so many great things about the geology program here, and especially Dr. Whitmore’s Earth Science class. So I decided to give it a shot!”
Since coming to Cedarville, McFadden has fallen in love with her major and doesn’t feel any lingering regret. She hopes others won’t be scared or afraid if their plan changes.
McFadden’s a planner to her core, but she realized it’s okay to change directions and make new decisions.
Similar to Pound, Grace Gregory first heard about Cedarville University from a high school friend. During her childhood, intentional and caring teachers made a huge impact on her, leading her to take an interest in the education field. As a freshman in college, she felt drawn to study Early Childhood Education, hoping to emulate the example of her heroes.
“I really loved helping the kids grow and see that light bulb moment where you can tell they really learned something,” Gregory said. “I love that about teaching.”
But the challenging qualifying tests stopped Gregory from continuing in her program. Discouraged, she decided to take on a Graphic Design minor while working to improve her test scores. The unexpected happened when the experience piqued her interest in Graphic Design, and her eyes were opened to a whole new world of creativity.
“I loved how different and artistic it was,” Gregory said. “And how you get to express yourself through your work while also helping others.”
She decided to switch her major to Visual Communication Design with a focus in Graphic Design. Though education is something she’ll always have a passion for, Gregory felt God closed that door for a reason, and that she’s learning to fully trust through the process. Even though Early Childhood and Visual Communication Design are very different, she’s learned a lot and has really enjoyed her new focus so far.
Instead of comparing herself to others, Gregory is intentional about rejoicing in the good she sees both in others and in herself and focusing on learning and growing.
“If you change your degree, never feel like it’s been a waste of time,” Gregory said. “You’ll always use education, no matter what you choose to go into. Trust God’s will. You may not always understand the plan now, but I believe it’ll all make sense later.”
Marielle Payton is a junior Professional Writing and Information Design major, journalist, and public relations writer from Northern Virginia. When she’s not studying, you can find her catching up on current news and politics or binge-watching CBS crime shows.