Major Life Change?

Yesterday I had a rather upsetting realization that the course of study I’d been pursuing for 3 years was perhaps not the best choice. I’m currently in my third year of Computer Science at Georgia Tech and my GPA is abyssmal, I’m still in school, but if I were to be kicked out the door right now, I couldn’t apply for my degree based on my GPA.

So yesterday my parents and I agreed it was time to look for alternatives. What I found was a much more appealing major right here at Tech, and it’s more of a lateral step in my study focus, but it is a change none-the-less. The new major I’m looking at is called “Computational Media” and is aimed more at the media side of Computer Science. From what I saw, I won’t lose credit for classes in the change and most of the classes I’ve had to take for my CS degree are applicable to this other degree, so it will keep me from falling too much further behind.

Yesterday I was really upset at the prospect, and after some soul searching I realized it wasn’t because I was attached to the idea of graduating with a Computer Science degree, it was because I felt as if I was admitting defeat against a mountain that I should have been able to climb. But as my dad pointed out, everyone runs into a mountain that turns them back sooner or later. I had just found mine. And going 21 years before finding it is a pretty good track record.

Now to find the next mountain…

How about you all, any one else finding a sudden life change that could have a very lasting effect and did it bring any epiphanies?

Twice in my life, once at 16 and once at 28. Both times I ended up telling myself ‘What you’re doing isn’t working. It’s time to change and do something else.’

Both times paid off enormously.

It’s these moments, and how you handle them, that define how you are as a person. Don’t fail. Evaluate your options and go. You’ll be better for it.

Yup. I transferred colleges after freshman year, and I quit my first “real” job after college after 13 months. Both big changes and both definitely for the better in the long run. It can be tough up front, but it’s worth it if it’s what you think is right for YOU (not what anyone else wants, thinks is best, etc.)

2.5 years through the EE program at Clemson, I got very sick. So sick, I had to take a month off. My parents called my professors to see if I could stand the month off, and the majority told them no, in fact, I was failing to begin with. After a heart to heart with my parents, I decided to not go back that semester and work in a local factory during the summer to get my head together. I decided to go back to Clemson and join the Computer Science department since many of the first and second year classes were the same. I graduated in Dec 98 and 6 years later I’m very happy with where that career path has taken me.

So I wish you good luck with your plan B, and hope it works out well for you!

Oddly enough, I’ve been thinking of opening this exact thread recently.

I’m also going through one of these now. It’s good that you’re doing it while you’re still in college instead of after getting to grad school or whatever.

I’ve been in Linguistics since I started college, and am currently in my first year of PhD studies, which I entered straight out of my senior year. I knew even before I started that things weren’t sitting right, but for several reasons (none of which I’m going to elaborate here), I decided to do this. I moved to Chicago from Maryland, got my life set up, all that. I have financial support, so things have been fine in that way. But it’s been a constant struggle to keep myself engaged in the academic life. I don’t like the environment, I’m having qualms about the the worth of studying this stuff in the firstp lace, I don’t want the jobs it leads to. I found myself checking job postings, looking at what was necessary for all kinds of other careers…

A couple weeks ago I had a double epiphany:

  1. I don’t have to be doing this.
  2. I could keep forcing myself to get the completion some part of me think is important, but I’m 95% certain I wouldn’t come out the other side in one piece. Maybe not even two or three or ten pieces.

I immediately pinpointed a career I think I’d like and do well at (librarian), found out what I needed to do to get there, applied for schools, and generally set things in order for a complete change in goals and living arrangements at the end of the academic year.

This kind of thing can be really, really frightening. I know I’m scared out of my wits sometimes at the thought of everything to come. Not only has the supposedly firm grounding of my desires and goals been pulled out from under me–I also have to move back to Maryland, start a new school life, figure out how to support myself while I’m getting my degree, and all that crap. But if you know you don’t want to be doing what you’re doing, and you have a fair idea of what you do want to be doing, it makes no sense to stay miserable just for the sake of short-term stability.

Having come from a family in which perseverance and work ethic are the keys to character, it’s been hard to make myself realize that it is not failure to leave something that makes you unhappy if there’s no good reason for you to be doing it and you don’t desire the outcome. And it’s not taking the easy way out. You need to put yourself in the best situation you can instead of following the path of least resistance.

Best of luck.

I’m going in the opposite direction from pasuneen. I’ve been working for the last two years and a few weeks ago realized I was much happier on a shoestring budget doing physics research back at school then as a (sort of) well paid computer tech. So I applied this month for various PhD programs and waiting to see how it pans out.

Here’s hoping.