The dilemma of switching majors from undergrad to grad school

8 Nov

Photo of journalists with cameras by UNclimatechange

As an 18-year-old, stepping into college was one of the most awaited moments of my life. I majored in the sciences in 10+2, and enrolled in an engineering school soon after. What happened since then has dramatically changed my life.

Undergrad school kicked off with some intense pressure for me right from the first semester. Not only did I start wondering if I’d made a mistake, I started to feel detached from college because I wasn’t doing well. I figured it was a case of a serious lack of judgment, as I realized engineering is not something I see myself doing. I don’t understand half the things I’m taught, I cannot associate any practicality with it, and it just doesn’t interest me.

As I grew to accept this, I started to dig deeper about what I really want to do. By the end of my fifth semester, classes were replaced with extracurricular activities, professors with TED speakers, and Induction Motor textbooks with Dickens’ novels.

I had made up my mind about what I didn’t want to do; now I needed to devise a plan for what I did want to do. Gradually, I found a way. I started by sending out resumes for internships at media blogs, participating in literary fests, and much more.

I was on the move, but still filled with doubt. So I decided to have a heart-to-heart with a more experienced person on this matter. My cousin graduated from engineering school in 2011, and now works with a Delhi law firm as a patent attorney. His switch from engineering to law was one of the most sensational things to have occurred in our family. So he seemed like the perfect person to consult about my dilemma.

He said: “If you’re sure about what you want to do, it’s never too late to get started. The hard part isn’t convincing your parents to let you achieve your dreams – it’s convincing yourself that you’re about to take a decision that you’re going to be 100% responsible for, whatever the consequences.”

My next question to him was about how hard it is to sell yourself to an interviewer or an employer when your resume shows that you switched after your bachelor’s degree to a different field for your master’s degree. He calmly replied, “Who said you could be great at only one thing? Not only do I have the combined experience of working in engineering and law, I’m a determined individual whose decision to transit from engineering to law is just a symbol of my dedication towards my goal and passion.”

I could relate to everything he was saying. Not only did he give me the pep talk I so needed to pursue what I love, he also gave me a big dose of positivity. The road is not simple, but if you do it right, the happiness is worth the struggle.

I’m in my final year of engineering, and I’ve decided to study journalism after graduation. Before that happens, I’m trying every way possible to learn whatever I can about the field I’ll be entering, and to gain practical experience in it. I don’t want to be daunted by the course as I was when I took up engineering. What happens after that will be a story for another time.


By: Cherryy Chauhan

Photo by UNclimatechange, used under CC BY 2.0 license

One Response to “The dilemma of switching majors from undergrad to grad school”

  1. Kartik bhatia November 9, 2016 at 2:13 pm #

    A very motivating article for all the 1.6 million engineers India’s going to produce in 2017 and in the years to come…
    Looking forward to reading your views on other non-engineering thoughts of common interest…
    A final year engineering student

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