I Regret: My College Major

Do you have regrets? Tell TheGloss your regrettable story in 600-800 words and you could win these designer shades to hide your shameful, shameful face.

I’m sure my biggest regret will be a lifelong regret.

My parents were immigrants from Mexico who fought tooth and nail, against all odds, to each become the first generation of their families to exceed a third grade education and make it into college. They supported their families, help raised their siblings, and graduated from college with top marks. Shortly after they married, they moved to the United States.

I was born in the United States, oldest and the only girl of three. My earliest memory of my parents is being told by my mother that I was going to go to school in order to go to college. I grew up knowing that I had to do well because I needed to go to college. I never imagined an alternative. I loved going to school. I studied hard. I refused to miss a day, even when I was sick (Oh! How I detested my chicken pox!). I was that kid in middle school in an advanced math class, refusing to move into the next math class because I had gotten a “B” my second semester and considered that absolutely unsatisfactory. I had to get straight “A’s.”

Ever since I was young, I dreamed of becoming some sort of health professional so that I could cure the world of sickness and lift the spirits of the sick and weary. As I got older, I realized that I really wanted to go into nursing, no question about it. I loved communicating with people and interacting with them. I never wanted to be a doctor. All of my doctors had been distant, scary… with cold hands.

But my nurses! They were always the ones that made check-ups fun. They told me stories and remembered small things about my last visits and lessened my worries about seeing doctors. I wanted to be like them. I wanted to make people happier while taking care of their health.

Unfortunately, my father was (and is) ambitious. He wanted a doctor in the family. He decided that I was going to study biochemistry and pre-med or there was no way I was going to leave home. Considering that home is Idaho, I wanted out. I accepted. For the last three years, I’ve been struggling with a major for which I have no aptitude. I’ve been failing calculus class after calculus class, miserably retaking each one so that I can get a passing grade. It took me three tries to pass one of them! Every quarter (my school runs on the quarter system), I’ve petitioned my father to let me change my major to anything, even if it’s not nursing. Every time, he has said no.

I’m graduating next year, and after that, I don’t know what’s going to happen. I’m going to be stuck with a chemistry degree, most likely doing a job I won’t be good at and I’ll absolutely hate. My only hope is that maybe someday I’ll be able to get into a graduate program for nursing and become a nurse practitioner, but the likelihood of that happening with the grades I’ve been getting is close to zero. It’s not that I don’t work hard in school. I do my best.

I ask for help and try to soldier through, but it has been difficult. I’ve lost my motivation to continue, but continue I have. I am trying my hardest to do well, so that someday I might have a sliver of a chance to do what I’ve always dreamed of.

My biggest regret is not secretly changing my major freshman year. My biggest regret is not lying to the two most important people in my life. My biggest regret is disappointing the little girl I once was.

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    • Cee

      First off..*hug* I have been in your shoes and it absolutely sucks. Secondly, by any chance, are you receiving any sort of financial aid? I got my Bachelor’s in History later than I told my parents I did, but because I had financial aid and I told them I was working on grad school(which I am NOW). But, I mean, I know what I will say will sound harsh, but like your parents, mine do not know what it takes to get a degree, the years and amount of work and the number of courses. I took full advantage of that to get away with my grad program, and you should too. Stay in school and take the classes you enjoy to repair your GPA. At the end of the day YOU will be doing the job for the rest of your life, not your parents.Some parents will never be satisfied, I told them that I could get a job that will pay me 80k to start with the grad degree I chose and they just..shrugged. Nurse practitioners and BSNs even make VERY good money.

    • Lindsey

      Hi lady! What you’re going through now seems simply terrible. But! Maybe after you get your degree you could work and take nursing classes at a community college? Even if you’re getting bad grades now, having excellent grades in the program and already having some nurse education/credits/certifications under your belt will be very telling to a school you apply to. You can do it, and be awesome.

      • Ella Jane

        This works! This is how my sister in law became a nurse. It took a few years, but she has a great job that she really, really loves.

    • Carrie

      You are the one in charge of your life, not your Dad. YOU CAN change your major. Are you going to be miserable the rest of your life? You should really think about that.

      • Kay

        Carrie, I do want to clear something up. I am fully aware that my life is my own and everything that I decide affects my future. In our culture, there is nothing more important than family, and children listen to their parents until they are financially independent or have gotten married. After that, they don’t have much say in what you do with your life. If I were to rebel against my father, I would not just lose the financial backing I need to compliment the financial aid I receive from my school, but I would also lose my family. You rebel in such a drastic way, you get disowned. There is absolutely no way I would ever let that happen. I love my family too much, and I care greatly for my brothers. Yes, currently I’m miserable. I most likely will be until I can do with my life what I truly want, but right now, to the person I am, my family is most important.

    • GG

      First of all, I feel your pain. When I was 17, all I wanted to do was go to cosmetology school and learn how to cut hair. “But nooooooooooooooo you’re so good at math, and you enjoy it, and you’ll make a lot of money with your math skills” said my parents. They were right, I do enjoy math… but I’m miserable. After four years in finance, I’ve learn that the cubicle life is not for me. Which is why I’m dropping everything, moving to an area with a lower cost of living, and going to cosmetology school at the ripe ol’ age of 26. Between being a money hoarder and being grossly overpaid at my job, I’ll be able to swing it if I get a part time job and cut back on some spending. What I’m trying to say here is to not let everyone control your life, and to follow what you want to do.

      That being said, the above comment from Lindsay is some sound advice. My mother didn’t get her nursing degree until I was 8 years old, which she accomplished by getting her prerequisites done at a community college slowly then entered a “fasttrack” nursing program at the local state university. There’s a ton of nursing programs out there that accommodate students who studied in a different field for undergrad because there is such a high demand for nurses right now. Good luck with everything!

    • MM

      You can always still go into nursing! My mother used to teach nursing and she explained that a lot of people with Bachelor’s degrees in biology or chemistry ended up going back to become nurses because a BSc alone isn’t worth much in the job market. Even if your marks suck, you can always go back and redo courses as well. Of course it’s regrettable that you wasted time and money on this but it’s never too late to change things around.

    • D.

      Why don’t you show your father this article? Maybe it will give him a new perspective. Some parents have their heart in the right place by not wanting to let you give up, they see your potential and want you to reach it. Then again, sometimes what they see as giving up isn’t giving up at all, just changing your mind or coming to a realization at a crossroads that will affect your future. I graduate year after next, and I was given almost no guidance by either one of my parents. I’m the first generation to attend college in my family, something that gave me a lot of freedom. I sometimes wish I had more guidance. I have regrets, but my parents never felt they were in the position to doubt my judgement when it came to something they knew so little about. From the outside looking in, maybe your father didn’t really know what he was doing to you. I’m also a Mexican-American, so I know family is everything to our people. Still, I was raised to accept and love my family, even if I disagreed with the decisions they made. When they fail, they fall into our arms, and when they succeed, together our hearts sing…then we have a cook out. Good luck girl!

    • Paige

      You sound exactly like my boyfriend. His parents pushed him to do biochem and pre-med for the first three years of his college career even though he hated it. And he’s actually finally told his parents about how he felt and switched majors this year, as a senior, to linguistics, and loves it. He may have to stay in school an extra year, but seeing his face light up when he talks about syntax really makes me happy and a very proud girlfriend. I wish you the best and hope that you too can gain the courage to tell your parents what you’d really like to do. Life is too short to not do everything you can do to be the best you!