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How I Chose My Major & What I learned Along the Way

I get asked allllllllllll the time what major I am. It’s totally different at every school depending what each school offers. Furman is a liberal arts school so one of the requirements is that while we take multiple classes in our major, we also are required to take classes in almost all the different departments. It’s great being able to take a variety of classes and really get a taste of all the different majors before settling on one (or two).

I heard someone say the other day that the average college student changes their major 3 times. Whether this is true or not it’s great to be able to really explore different areas of studies before really deciding what you want to focus on. Most college freshman come in unsure about what they want to major in, or they come in set on a major and find something else they like even better!

I am a communications major. I’m in the minority and knew from the first day of freshman year that I wanted to be a communications major. Since Furman is a smaller liberal arts school, it’s nice because many of the majors are pretty broad and then you can pick the classes within the major to align more specifically with what you want to do.  I loved that the communications studies major encompassed so many different paths such as broadcasting, journalism, film, public relations, advertising, marketing, and rhetoric. I like to think of it as more as the creative version of a business major ;)

While I was pretty sure about a communications major, one thing I didn’t expect was to fall in love with the art department. Now let me preface this, I like to think of myself as more of a creative person versus an artistic person. I can’t draw, paint, and don’t have beautiful flowing handwriting. But, on a whim I signed up for graphic design I, sophomore year in our art department. I was nervous that I was going to be one of the only non art majors and I was worried about being behind.

BUT, I LOVED IT. LOVE LOVE LOVED IT. I totally found my niche. While I was still super interested in everything I was learning about in my communications class, I was passionate about my graphic design projects. My graphic design professor saw something in me I didn’t and always pushed me to the next level. While I am still a communications major, I have dedicated almost all of my free space in my schedule to graphic design classes.

I have now completed graphic design I, graphic design II, Advertising Design (MY FAVORITE COLLEGE CLASS YET), digital communications, and history of photography. And this summer I also took a 3 week MayX class with the art department where we painted and completed 2 murals in Greenville…which was a blast. I decided not to double major with art because it would have required drawing, art history, painting, and sculpture classes that I was not interested in and not where my strengths lie. But luckily, through taking all my art classes I have become good friends with the art department chair and he knows how passionate I am and has assisted on numerous occasions to make my schedule work with the art classes I want. With two more semesters left of college (BOOOOO) I’m hoping to take even more graphic design classes and really want to take Graphic Design III and typography!

Although most of the time I’m usually one of the only non-art majors I can totally keep up and really excel in the classes. I’ve gotten to know so many people who I would have never met before and along the way discovered another department on campus I really fit into.

Looking back, it all makes sense and I’m mad at myself for not trying out some art and graphic design classes earlier. For as long as I can remember I have always loved arranging everything on a school poster and making trifolds and PowerPoint pretty. I was always obsessed with the visual aspect of all my projects and I even remember sophomore year having a breakdown when I didn’t think my trifold was pretty enough.

(you can see my trifold in the back!) We spend the semester working on ONE paper that was super long on one person and at the end we had to dress up as them when we presented!

 Luckily my mom and I found an old world map in my garage and put in in the background with Amelia Earhart’s route on it! Then it was up to my standard.

I have always been pretty good on the computer and I almost always get a vision in my head when making a project. It all makes sense now. And even though designing posters and making power points pretty isn’t exactly graphic design, it illustrates my love of making something bland into something visually appealing.

Take that 8th grade art teacher who gave me a B…..

Anyways….this just proves that your major can be so much more than simply a word on your diploma. Yes, I am a communications major but I have balanced it out with taking classes in other departments that I find interesting, whether it be a graphic design class in the art department or a marketing class in the business department.  Bottom line: Don’t limit yourself to one area of study!

Take classes outside of your major :: this is how I discovered something that really really interested me and have grown so much because of it.

Take advantage of electives :: with so many requirements for your major, it’s key that you use planning to figure out how many free classes you have and when the best time to take a fun class would be.

Try something you’ve always wanted :: always wanted to take a pottery class? Or a creative writing class? GO FOR IT. Make room in your schedule and take a class that you think you’ll be super passionate about.

Don’t be afraid to double major :: If I could double major in communications and graphic design I would totally do it (which I’m kinda doing just on my own level). If you're passionate about two things don’t feel like you have to choose one! Double major (even if they have nothing to do with each other)!!!





  1. I'm glad you found your "niche" in graphic design! I'm still a long ways away from having to choose my major, but this post was still helpful nonetheless!

    Tori A. from Prep For A Day

  2. Loved reading this, Shannon, and it was so fun to read a bit more about your college experience!


  3. I did something similar, I fell in love with Art History as well as Women & Gender Studies. I have my degree in English but I double minored since I took so many courses in those departments. I even finished my minors as a junior but still took coursework in them since I loved them. Jess at Just Jess

  4. Picking a major is never easy and I feel like sometimes we rush to settle for something. Everyone's experience is different and it was nice to hear about yours!

  5. Try out reading this article next time. Its about how to correctly choose your college major.