One of the greatest benefits of being a Rice student is the flexibility in declaring majors. It’s not like other universities, where switching majors is a long, arduous process with lots of paperwork. Here, you just get a single sheet of paper signed, and BAM, you’re done.
For people who are undecided about their major, this is a serious blessing. When I came in as a freshman, I was completely lost. I’ve now decided to double major in Cognitive Science and Statistics, with a minor in Data Science if I can squeeze it in. (The minor’s not official yet, but is set to be released next year!) However, it took me a lot of trial and error to get this point. I considered almost every major under the sun and have had countless crises about what I want to do with my life. As a result, I’ve got a lot of experience when it comes to what I call the “mid-major life crisis” – aka do I really want to major in this? What am I going to do with my life? Will I graduate on time?
I think almost everyone has a mid-major life crisis at some point. It’s not easy being a Rice student, and it’s not uncommon to doubt yourself after a particularly rough problem set or exam. That being said, if you do ever find yourself in the throes of a mid-major life crisis, there are plenty of resources out there to help you. Here are my tips:
– Talk to someone at the Office of Academic Advising: The OAA’s job is to literally help students plan out their schedules. They’re a great resource for general information about each major. Setting up an appointment literally requires one phone call.
– Ask your peers, especially your PAA’s: PAA’s are Peer Academic Advisers, other students from your college who are act as liaisons for the OAA. They’ll often give you the dirt that professors or the OAA won’t tell you about, like what classes are easy, which professors to avoid, how to study, and other helpful advice.
– Make a 4-year plan: I can literally cannot stress this enough – plan ahead! This is especially important if you’re going to double major or still exploring. Since some classes are only offered once a year, you really need to make sure you can squeeze in everything on time.
– Talk to your major adviser: Each major has an adviser who is there to provide advice. They’re also the person you go to to get your major declaration form signed, petition to have a class count for your major, etc. Get to know them well!
Lastly, follow your gut. There are a lot of majors at Rice and choosing just one or two of them can be daunting at times. No major is ever going to be a walk in the park here, and plenty of people change their minds. I know I did – multiple times. It’s okay to change majors once, twice, or however many times. Go out there and explore!