Switching Majors

Filed in Life at WPI by on October 8, 2010

So I just finished having coffee in the campus center with one of the sophomores in my sorority.  We were both working on homework, and she mentioned that she didn’t know if she was in the right major. She talked about not knowing what major she wanted, what she wanted to possibly get a graduate degree in, and if a concentration was helpful or not. It reminded me of the questions and concerns I had when  I was a freshman.

I originally started out as a Biomedical Engineering major. I discovered this major while I was in high school and decided it would be a great fit for me because it combined my love of problems solving and designing with my interests in anatomy and helping others. Freshman year I took all of the normal calculus, science and humanities classes and then D term I finally was able to take Intro to Biomedical Engineering. I was really looking forward to this class because I figured it would help gain a better understanding of the different concentrations and which one would be a good fit for me. As we learned about the different areas of BME offered at this school, I quickly began to realize that most of them revolved around materials or tissue engineering. There’s one problem with that: I hate chemistry. And cells. And those topics are the basis of those disciplines. I did think that biomechanics sounded interesting, but I stated to get worried that maybe I had made the wrong choice and that BME wasn’t for me.

I talked to a bunch of upperclassmen I knew. A few pointed out that if I liked biomechanics I should talk to a few people who had a biomechanics concentration from the Mechanical Engineering Department. Once I talked to them, everything seemed to fit. I was able to take classes that focused on designing assistive or rehabilitation devices for people, but the the majority of my classes would deal with general engineering and design less on cells and chemistry. I met with the ME Biomechanics advisor to talk more about logistics and switching majors, and by the end of my freshman year I had successfully become a ME.

Overall I’m really happy with my decision. My concentration allows me to still take classes and apply to jobs that I’m interested in, but my ME degree gives me more flexability. I feel that I am now prepared to work on any type of engineering work and if I can’t find a job in a BME field right away, I’ll still have lots of other options avaliable to me.

So I guess the moral of this is that if you’re worried about finding the right major, it’s okay. A LOT of
WPI students switch majors at some point in their 4 years here. It’s normal. And if you are worried, talk to someone those majors, preferable upperclassmen. The may have even been in your shoes at one point and can probably give great advice.

About the Author ()

Hi everyone! My name is Kelly and I'm from Andover, MA. I'm a senior in Mechanical Engineering, and it's my second year as a Peer Advisor for WPI's Career Development Center. I'm also in one of the sororities on campus, Phi Sigma Sigma, and a part of EPICS (Engineering Projects In Community Service). I'm going to be keeping you updated on my senior year and what I'm doing to figure out my life after college (jobs, grad school, etc). Enjoy!

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