Dear Friend, when is it the right time for change?

Welcome to “Dear Friend”, The News-Letter’s anonymous advice column. For doubts, concerns and problems related to matters of the heart and mind, I’m here to offer my thoughts and suggestions. I’ll be your close confidant and sounding board; In other words, I’ll be a friend.

This week we have several questions about desiring change and hitting the metaphorical refresh button, since the new school year can often prompt people to want to transform and evolve.

Q: Coming in as a freshman, I was pretty sure about my major. Then I ended up adding a second pretty much straight away and decided to add a third towards the end of the year. As a sophomore, I’m starting to doubt my choices and I’m considering dropping my original major, but I’m worried that it’s a little late to start doubting myself. What do I do?

A: First things first: Your major does not define who you are. Your major is not the sole key to your future success. It’s what you do with your major that really matters. If you seek out opportunities, if you apply yourself in class, if you pursue what you’re passionate about — those are all more important than declaring a major.

Now let me directly address your question. You say that you’re worried about doubting yourself. I say that isn’t necessarily what’s going on, but there are a couple things it could be.

1) You no longer are interested in your first major and don’t enjoy the subject anymore but feel obligated to stick to it.

2) You’re feeling overwhelmed with three majors and are worried you’re spreading yourself too thin.

Regarding the first scenario, if you feel that it is having a negative impact on your general wellbeing, I say you should trust your instinct and drop the first major. College (and life) is too short to spend precious time and energy on something you don’t enjoy.

However, if you still are invested in your first major and it is feasible to graduate on time as a triple major, why not do it? I know a handful of triple majors who make it work by strategically planning their courses out to overlap.

But let’s say it’s not practical to triple major or that it is technically is possible, but by doing so, you would be making yourself unhappy and putting your mental health and wellbeing at risk. In this case, I would strongly advise you to drop a major. Just because you can triple major doesn’t mean you should. Your happiness and health is more important. It’s crucial to understand your limits and know how to live a balanced life.

Have an honest conversation with your faculty advisor(s) and let them know what’s going on. Schedule an appointment at the academic advising office. Ask your friends who are in the three majors about what their experiences have been like. Did they find the major worthwhile? Did they like the professors? Did they gain connections or discover internships through the department?

Ultimately, the decision to drop a major is up to you. Don’t let yourself be limited by a label on a future diploma.

Q: As a premed with an extremely tight schedule, I often have a pretty set routine with the same people. How would you recommend meeting new people to possibly date?

A: I’ve often joked that single premed students are some of the University’s greatest untapped resources. Looking for people to date is no joke. Dating requires time, commitment and effort: three things that not everyone can afford to give.

Be honest with yourself. Are you willing to make room in your life for another person? Do you realistically have time in your schedule? If you feel that you do, I say go for it! I have a lot of friends (many of whom are premeds) who are in successful, healthy relationships.

You can download dating apps: They’re convenient and an easy way to meet people. However, I’ll be honest and tell you that I’m more of the belief that it’s nice to be friends with a person before you date them.

We’re in the early weeks of the semester, so it isn’t weird to introduce yourself to people in lecture. Ask a classmate to grab coffee with you. Tag along with a friend when they go out on Friday night and meet their friends. Join a new club or organization that you’re passionate about and strike up a conversation with the other members. Go to a cooking class, sign up for an intramural sport.

Challenge yourself to talk to lots of people and keep doing the things you love. I really believe that if you focus on yourself and on living your best life, you will organically meet someone who can complement you.

Dating as a college student is difficult because you have might have a million extracurriculars and research and a job and homework, and the list goes on and on. But dating also can add so much to your life and be really meaningful. In these crazy and hectic four years, why shouldn’t we make time for a person who makes us happy?

Need advice? Email your questions to dearfriendcolumn@gmail.com, and they may be answered in a future column.

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