When I went to BYU, I was a declared Public Relations major, in the Communications department. I took the pre-reqs for three semesters, was accepted to the program, and two months later, changed my major.
It turns out that most of the jokes about Comms majors are based in fact. There were a tremendous amount of athletes in the program, there were many fake blond, baked tan students, and I discovered in one of my classes about consumer behavior that I was one of the few people who didn’t buy jeans that cost as much as a month of rent.
Also, nearly all the classes were easy as can be. My intro classes in other subjects were far more difficult. Let me tell you this – I had a 4.0 in the major and I was not anywhere near a 4.0 student outside the major (let us never discuss the C+ I got in Economics 110). It was just so clearly not the program for me.
And so I decided to change my history minor to a history major.
Part of it was that I have always loved history. But the other part of it was that I truly wanted an academic experience. I didn’t want to write one page papers about what brand of shoes I wore (true story); I wanted to be in the library with a table full of books, writing papers with footnotes.
It did turn out to be like that. I had professors like Paul Kerry and Michael Murdock that turned my world upside down; I saw the world like I never had before and then I got to write about it.
I learned about 20th-century China and Jewish culture and American sports history.
I spent hours sitting in the stacks with piles of books about slave marriages around me.
I watched movies that brought the abstract into stunning detail.
I participated in class discussions that changed the way I thought about hundreds of topics.
Is History a major that’s going to get you a really high-paying job right out of school? Not necessarily. But I knew I wanted to be a librarian and that any of the schools I was considering didn’t require a specific major.
At BYU, there were around 160 majors to choose from. I don’t, for a moment, think I should have chosen one of the other 159. It’s lovely to have no regrets on that particular issue.
What was your major and would you do it differently if you could go back? Or if you don’t have a degree, what would you pick?